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"In the ordinary novel, the novelist stands 
on the banks of the river of life chronicling 
how and when people ariie, and how it is that 
things happen to them. But Miriam (the 
central figure of Dorothy Richardson's work) 
pulls us with her into the yielding water." 
— Nation, 

"The style grows upon one with familiarity ; 
it is continually illumined by passages of 
brilliant insight, and its half-subconscious 
revelation of personality i« wonderfully attrac- 
tive." — Daily Telegraph. 






(in preparation) 









First Published ig2i 




^ 1\ /T IRIAM ran upstairs narrowly ahead of her 
* IVJL thoughts. In the small enclosure of her 
1 room they surged about her, gathering power from 
the familiar objects silently waiting to share her 
astounded contemplation of the fresh material. 
She swept joyfully about the room ducking and 
doubling to avoid arrest until she should have 
discovered some engrossing occupation. But in 
the instant's pause at each eagerly opened drawer 
and cupboard, her mind threw up images. It was 
useless. There was no escape up here. Pelted 
from within' and without, she paused in laughter 

with clasped restraining hands the rest of 

the evening must be spent with people . . . the 

nearest ; the Baileys ; she would go down into 

the dining-room and be charming with the Baileys 

until to-morrow's busy thoughtless hours were in 

sight. Half-way downstairs she remembered that 

the forms waiting below, for so long unnoticed and 

^ unpondered, might be surprised, perhaps affronted 

^ by her sudden interested reappearance. She rushed 

g on. She could break through that barrier. Mrs. 

fi^^^ru ,? 4- 


Bailey's quiet withholding dignity would end in 
delight over a shared gay acknowledgment that her 
house was looking up. 

She opened the dining-room door, facing in ad- 
vance the family gathered at needlework under the 
gaslight, an island group in the waste of dreary in- 
creasing shabbiness .... she would ask some ques- 
tion, apologising for disturbing them. The room 
seemed empty ; the gas was turned dismally low. 
Only one light was on, the once new, drearily hope- 
ful incandescent burner. Its broken mantle shed a 
ghastly bluish-white glare over the dead fern in the 
centre of the table and left the further parts of the 
room in obscurity. But there was someone there ; 
a man, sitting perched on the sofa-head, and beyond 
him someone sitting on the sofa. She came forward 
into silence. They made no movement ; boarders, 
people she did not know, stupefied by their endur- 
ance of the dreariness of the room. She crossed to 
the fireside and stood looking at the clock-face. 
The clock was not going. " Are you wanting the 
real Greenwich, Miss Henderson ? " She turned, 
ashamed of her mean revival of interest in a world 
from which she had turned away, to observe the 
woman who had found possible a friendly relation- 
ship with Mr. Gunner. " Oh yes I ^o," she 
answered hurriedly, carefully avoiding the meeting 
of eyes that would call forth his numb clucking 
laughter. But she was looking into the eyes of 

Mrs. Bailey Sitting tucked neatly into the 

sofa corner, with clasped hands, her shabbiness veiled 
by the dim light, she appeared to be smiling a far- 
away welcome from a face that shone rounded and 


rosy in the gloom. She was neither vexed nor 
pleased. She was far away, and Mr. Gunner went 
on conducting the interview. He was speaking 
again, with his watch in his hand. He, having 
evidently become a sort of intimate of the Baileys, 
was of course despising her for her aloofness during 
the bad period. She paid no heed to his words, 
remaining engrossed in Mrs. Bailey's curious still 
manner, her strange unwonted air of having no 
part in what was going on. 

She sought about for some question to justify 
her presence and perhaps break the spell, and 
recovered a memory of the kind of enquiry used 
by boarders to sustain their times of association 
with Mrs. Bailey. In reply to her announcement 
that she had come down to ask the best way of 
getting to Covent Garden early in the morning 
Mrs. Bailey sat forward as if for conversation. The 
spell was partly broken, but Miriam hardly recog- 
nised the smooth dreamy voice in which Mrs. 
Bailey echoed the question, and moved about the 
room enlarging on her imaginary enterprise, 
struggling against the humiliation of being aware of 
Mr. Gunner's watchfulness, trying to recover the 
mood in which she had come down and to drive 
the message of its gaiety through Mrs. Bailey's 
detachment. She found herself at the end of her 
tirade, standing once more facing the group on the 
sofa ; startled by their united appearance of kindly, 
smiling, patient, almost patronising tolerance. 
Lurking behind it was some kind of amusement. 
She had been an awkward fool, rushing in, 
seeing nothing. They had been discussing business 


together, the eternal difficulties of the house. 
Mr. Gunner was behind it all now, intimate and 
helpful and she had come selfishly in, interrupting. 
Mrs. Bailey had the right to display indifference 
to her assumption that anything she chose to 
present should receive her undivided attention ; 
and she had not displayed indifference. If Mr. 
Gunner had not been there she would have been 
her old self. There they sat, together, frustrating 
her. Angered by the pressure of her desire for 
reinstatement she crashed against their quietly 
smiling resistance. " Have I been interrupting 
you ? " 

" No, young lady ; certainly not," said Mrs. 
Bailey in her usual manner, brushing at her 

" I believe I have," smiled Miriam obstinately. 

Mr. Gunner smiled serenely back at her. There 
was something extraordinary in such a smile coming 
from him. His stupid raillery was there, but 
behind it was a modest confidence. 

" No," he said gently. " I was only trying 
to demonstrate to Mrs. Bailey the bi-nomial 

They did not want her to go away. The room was 
freely hers. She moved away from them, wandering 
about in it. It was full, just beyond the veil of 
its hushed desolation, of bright light ; thronging 
with scenes ranged in her memory. All the people 
in them were away somewhere living their lives ; 
they had come out of lives into the strange, lifeless, 
suspended atmosphere of the house. She had felt 
that they were nothing but a part of its suspension, 


that behind their extraordinary secretive talkative 
openness there was nothing, no personal interest 
or wonder, no personality, only frozen wary 
secretiveness. And they had lives and had gone 
back into them or forward to them. Perhaps 
Mrs. Bailey and Mr. Gunner had always realised 
this . . . always seen them as people with other 
lives, not ghosts, frozen before they came, or 
unfortunates coming inevitably to this house 
rather than to any other, to pass on, frozen for life, 
by their very passage through its atmosphere. . . . 
There had been the Canadians and the foreigners, 
unconscious of the atmosphere ; free and active in 
it. Perhaps because they really went to Covent 
Garden and Petticoat Lane and Saint Paul's. . . . 
There's not many stays 'ere long ; them as stays, 
stays always. A man writing ; pleased with 
making a single phrase stand for a description of 
a third-rate boarding-house, not seeing that it 
turned him into a third-rate boarding-house. . . . 
Stays always ; always. But that meant boarders ; 
perhaps only those boarders who did nothing at 
all but live in the house, waiting for their food ; 

" human odds and ends " literary talk, 

the need for phrases. 

These afterthoughts always came, answering 
the man's phrase ; but they had not prevented his 
description from coming up always now together 
with any thoughts about the house. There was 
a truth in it, but not anything of the whole truth. 

It was like a photograph it made you see the 

slatternly servant and the house and the dreadful 
looking people going in and out. Clever phrases 


that make you see things by a dehberate arrange- 
ment, leave an impression that is false to life. But 
men do see life in this way, disposing of things and 
rushing on with their talk ; they think like that, 
all their thoughts false to Ufe ; everything neatly 
described in single phrases that are not true. 
Starting with a false statement they go on piling 
up their books. That man never saw how extra- 
ordinary it was that there should be anybody, 
waiting for anything. But why did their clever 
phrases keep on coming up in one's mind ? 

Smitten suddenly when she stood still to face her 
question, by a sense of the silence of the room, 
she recognised that they were not waiting at all 
for her to make a party there. They wanted to go 
on with their talk. They had not merely been 
sitting there in council at the heart of the gloom 
because the arrival of new boarders was beginning 
to hft it. They had sat like that many times before. 
They were grouped together between her and her 
old standing in the house, and not only they, but 
life, going, at this moment, on and on. They did 
not know, Hfe did not know, what she was going to 
prove. They did not know why she had come down. 
She could not go back again without driving home 
her proof. It was here the remainder of the evening 
must be passed, standing on guard before its 
earher part, strung by it to an animation that 
would satisfy Mrs. Bailey and restore to herself 
the place she had held in the house at the time when 
her life there had not been a shapeless going on and 
on. The shapclcssness had gone on too long. 
Mrs. Bailey had been aware of it, even in her 


estrangement. But she could be made to feel that 
she had been mistaken. Looked back upon now, 
the interval showed bright with things that would 
appear to Mrs. Bailey as right and wonderful 
life ; they were wonderful now, linked up with the 
wonder of this evening, and could be discussed 
with her, now that it was again miraculously certain 
they were not all there was. 

But Mr. Gunner was still there, perched stolidly 
in the way. In the old days antagonism and some 
hidden fear there was in his dislike of her, would 
hgve served to drive him away. But now he was 
immovable ; and felt, or for some reason thought 
he felt, no antagonism. Perhaps he and Mrs. 
Bailey had discussed her together. In this intoler- 
able thought she moved towards the sofa with the 
desperate intention of sitting intimately down at 
Mrs. Bailey's side and beginning somehow, no matter 
how, to talk in a way that must in the end send him 
away. " There's a new comet," she said violently. 
They looked up simultaneously into her face, each 
of their faces wearing a kind, veiled, unanimous 
patience. Mrs. Bailey held her smile and seemed 
about to speak ; but she sat back resuming her 
dreamy composure as Mr. Gunner taking out his 
notebook cheerfully said : 

" If you'll give me his name and address 
we'll take the earliest opportunity of paying a 

Mrs. Bailey was pleading for indulgence of her 
failure to cover and distribute this jest in her 
usual way. But she was ready now for a seated 
confabulation. But he would stay, permitted by 


her, immovable, slashing across their talk with 
his unfailing snigger, unreproved. 

" All sorts of people are staying up to see it ; 
I suppose one ought," Miriam said cheerfully. 
She could go upstairs and think about the comet. 
She went away, smiling back her response to Mrs. 
Bailey's awakening smile. 

Her starlit window suggested the many watchers. 
Perhaps he would be watching ? But if he had seen 
no papers on the way from Russia he might not have 
heard of it. It would be something to mention 
to-morrow. But then one would have to confess 
that one had not watched. She opened her window 
and looked out. It was a warm night ; but perhaps 
this was not the right part of the sky. The sky 
looked intelligent. She sat in front of the window. 
Very soon now it would not be too early to light 
the gas and go to bed. 

No one had ever seen a comet rushing through 
space. There was nothing to look for. Only people 
who knew the whole map of the sky would recognise 
the presence of the comet. . . . But there was a 
sort of calming joy in watching even a small piece 
of a sky that others were watching too ; it was 
one's own sky because one was a human being. 
Knowing of the sky and even very ignorantly a 
little of the things that made its effects, gave the 
most quiet sense of being human ; and a sense of 
other human beings, not as separate disturbing 

personalities, but as sky-watchers " Looking 

at the stars one feels the infinite pettiness of 
mundane affairs. I am perpetually astonished by 
the misapplication of the term infinite. How, for 


instance, can one thing be said to be infinitely 
smaller than another ? " He had always objected 
only to the inaccuracy, not to the dreary-weary 
sentiment. Sic transit. Almost everyone, even 
people who liked looking at the night-sky seemed to 
feel that, in the end. How do they get this kind 
of impression ? H the stars are sublime, why should 
the earth be therefore petty ? It is part of a 
sublime system. If the earth is to be called petty, 
then the stars must be called petty too. They may 
not even be inhabited. Perhaps they mean the 
movement of the vast system going on for ever, 
while men die. The indestructibility of matter. 
But if matter is indestructible, it is not what the 
people who use the phrase mean by matter. If 
matter is not conscious, man is more than matter. 
If a small, no matter how small, conscious thing is 
called petty in comparison with big no matter 
how big unconscious things, everything is made 
a question of size, which is absurd. But all these 
people think that consciousness dies 

The quiet forgotten sky was there again ; intelli- 
gent, blotting out unanswered questions, silently 
reaching down into the life that rose faintly in her 
to meet it, the strange mysterious life, far away 
below all interference, and always the same. 

Teaching, being known as a teacher, had brought 
about Mrs. Bailey's confident promise to the Russian 
student. There was no help for that. If he were 
cheated, it was part of the general confusion of the 
outside life. He also was subject to that. It would 
be a moment in his well-furnished life, caught up 
whenever his memory touched it, into the strand of 


contemptible things. He would see her drifting 
almost submerged in the flood of debris that made 
up the boarding-house life, its influence not 
recognised in the first moments because she stood 
out from it, still bearing, externally, the manner of 
another kind of life. The other kind of life was 
there, but able to realise itself only when she was 
alone. It had been all round her, a repelling 
memory, just now in the dining-room .... blind- 
ing her .... making her utterly stupid .... and 
there they were, in another world, living their 
lives ; their smiling patience taking its time, amused 
that she did not see. Of course that was what he 
had meant. There was no other possible meaning 
.... behind barred gates, closed against her, they 
had sat, patiently impatient with her absurdity 
.... Mrs. Bailey and Mr. Gunner. . . . 

He^ had had the clearness of vision to discover 

what she was behind her half-dyed grey 

hair and terrible ill-fitting teeth. Glorious. Into the 
midst of her failing experiment, at the very moment 
when the shadow of on-coming age was making it 
visibly tragic, had come this man in his youth, 
clear-sighted and determined, seeing her as his 
happiness, his girl. She was a girl, modest and good. 
. . . Circumstances could do nothing. There 
as she stood at bay in the midst of them, the thing 
she believed in, her one test of everything in life, 
always sure of her defence and the shelter of her 
curious little iron strength, had come again to her 
herself, all her own ... it was the unasked 
reward of her unswerving faith. She stood 
decorated by a miracle. 


Mrs. Bailey had triumped ; justified her ever- 
lasting confident smile. 

She was enviable ; her qualities blazoned by 
success in a competition whose judges, being blind, 
never failed in discovery 

But the miracle gleams only for a moment, and 
the personal life, no longer threading its way in 
a wonderful shining mysteriously continuous and 
decisive pattern freely in and out of the world- 
wide everything, is henceforth labelled and exposed, 
repeating until the eye wearies of its fixity, one 
little lustreless shape ; and the outside world is 
left untouched and unchanged. Is it worth 
while ? A bhnd end, in which death swiftly 

increases But without it, in the end, 

there is no shape at all? 

The hour had been such a surprising success 
because of a smattering of knowledge : until the 
moment when he had said I have always from 
the first been interested in philosophy. Then 
knowing that the fascinating thing was philosophy 
and being ignorant of philosophy, brought the 

certainty of being unable to keep pace 

Philosophy had come, the strange nameless thread 
in the books that were not novels, with its terrible 
known name at last and disappeared in the same 
moment for ever away into the lives of people 
who were free to study. . . But if, without 
knowing it, one had been for so long interested in a 
subject, surely it gave a sort of right ? Perhaps he 
would go on talking about philosophy without 
asking questions. No matter what failure lay ahead, 
it might be possible, even if the lessons lasted 


onl^ a little while, to find out all he knew about 
philosophy. It was a privilege, another of those 
extraordinary privileges coming suddenly and 
unexpectedly in strange places, books or people 
knowing all about things one had already become 
involved in without knowing when or why, people 
interested and attracted by a response that at 
first revealed no differences, so that they all in turn 
took one to be like themselves, and looking at life 
in their way. It made a relationship that was as 
false as it was true. What they were, they were 
permanently ; always true to the same things. 
Why being so different, was one privileged to meet 
them ? There must be some explanation. There 
was something that for a while attracted all kinds of 
utterly different people, men and women — and then 
something that repelled them, some sudden revela- 
tion of opposition, or absolute difference, making 
one appear to have been playing a part. Insincere 
and fickle. 

What is fickleness ? He is fickle, people say, with a 
wise smile. But one always knows quite well why 
people go away, and why one goes oneself. Not 
having the sense of fickleness probably means that 
one is fickle. There is something behind the 
accusation and the maddening smile with which 
it is always made, that makes you say thank heaven. 
People who are not what they call fickle, but always 
the same, are always, in the midst of their bland 
security, depressed about life in general, and have 
" a poor opinion of humanity." " Humanity does 
not change," they say. It is the same as it was in 
the beginning is now and ever shall be. oooo. 


And now to Godthefather .... and they find even 
their steadfast relationships dull. They are the 
people who talk about " ordinary everyday life " 
and approve of " far horizons " and desert islands 
and the other side of the moon, as if they were real 
and wonderful and life was not. If they went 
there it would be the same to them ; they would 
be just the same there ; but something in the way 
their lives are arranged prevents them from ever 
suddenly meeting Mr. Shatov. They meet only 
each other. The men make sly horrible jokes 

together the Greeks had only one wife ; they 

called it monotony. 

But I find my daily round at Wimpole 

Street dull. No, not dull ; wrong in some way. 
I did not choose it ; I was forced into it. I chose 
it ; there was something there ; but it has gone. 
If it had not gone I should never have found other 
things. " But you would have found something 
else my child." No. I am glad it has gone. I see 
now what I have escaped. " But you would 
have developed differently and not got out of touch. 
People don't if they are always together." But that 
is just the dreadful thing. . . . Cleo de Merode 
going back sometimes, with just one woman friend, 
to the little cabarets. . . . Intense sympathy with 
that means that one is a sort of adventuress . . . 
the Queen can never ride on an omnibus. 

Why does being free give a feeling of meanness ? 
Being able to begin all over again, always unknown, 
at any moment ; feehng a sort of pity and contempt 
for the people who can't ; and then being happy 
and forgetting them. But there is pain all round 



it that they never know. It is only by the pain 
of remaining free that one can have the v^hole 
world round one all the time. . . . But it 
disappears. . . . 

No, just at the moment you are most sure that 
everything is over for ever, it comes again, and you 
cannot believe it ever disappeared. But with the 
little feeling of meanness ; towards the people you 
have left and towards the new people. If you have 
ever failed anybody, you have no right to speak 
to anyone else. All these years I ought never to 
have spoken to anybody. " If I have shrunk 
unequal from one contest the joy I find in all the 
rest becomes mean and cowardly. I should hate 
myself if I then made my other friends my asylum." 
Emerson would have hated me. But he thinks 
evil people are necessary. How is one to know 
whether one is really evil ? Suppose one is. The 
Catholics believe that even the people in hell have 
a little relaxation now and again. Lewes said it 
is the relief from pain that gives you the illusion 
of bliss. It was cruel when she was dying ; but 
if it is true where is the difference ? Perhaps in 
being mean enough to take relief you don't deserve. 
Can anyone be thoroughly happy and thoroughly 
evil ? 

Botheration. Some clue had been missed. There 
was something incomplete in the thought that had 
come just now and seemed so convincing. She 
turned back and faced the self that had said one 
ought to meet everything in life with one's eyes on 
the sky. It had flashed in and out, between her 
thoughts. Now it seemed alien. Other thoughts 


were coming up, the thoughts and calculations she 
had not meant to make, but they rushed forward, 
and there was something extraordinary behind 
them, something that was part of the sky, of her 
own particular sky as she knew it. She had the 
right to make them, having been driven away from 
turning them into social charm for the dining-room. 
Once more she turned busily to the sky, thrusting 
back her thoughts ; but it was just the flat sky of 
everyday, part of London ; with nothing par- 
ticular to say. 

Thinking it over up here, alone in the universe, 
could not hurt the facts. To-morrow there would 
be more facts. That could not be helped, unless 
one died in the night or the house were burned 
down. Facing the empty sky, sitting between it 
and the empty stillness of the house she felt she 
was beaten ; too tired now to struggle against the 
tide of reflections she had fled downstairs to 

Only this morning, it seemed days ago, coming 
into the hall at Wimpole Street, the hoHdays still 
about her, little changes in the house, the greetings, 
the busy bustling cheerfulness, the sense of fresh 
beginnings, all ending in that dreadful moment of 
realisation ; being back in the smell of iodoform for 
another year ; knowing that the holidays had 
changed nothing ; that there was nothing in this 
life that could fulfil their promises ; nothing but 
the circling pressing details, invisible in the distance, 
now all there, at a glance, horribly promising to fill 
her days and leave her for her share only tired 
evenings. Unpacking, the spell of sunburnt 


summer-scented, country-smelling clothes, the 
fresh beginning in her room, one visit to an A.B.C. 
and the British Museum and everything would 
be dead again. No change at Tansley Street ; 
through the crack in the dining-room door Mr. 
Rodkin and his newspapers, Mr. Gunner sitting 
over the empty grate waiting for nothing ; Mrs. 
Mann standing on the hearthrug, waiting to 
explain away something, watching Sissie and Mrs. 
Bailey clear the table, with a smile fixed on her 
large well-made child's face, Mr. Keppel coming 
out of the room with his graceful halting lounge and 
going on, unseeing, upstairs, upright in his shabby 
dreamy grey clothes as if he were walking on level 
ground. Lingering a moment too long, Mrs. 
Bailey in the hall, her excited conspirator's smiles 
as she communicated the news of Mr. Rodkin's 
friend and the lessons, as if nothing were changed 
and one were still always available for association 
with the house ; her smiling calculating dismay at 
the refusal, her appeal to Mr. Rodkin, his abstracted 
stiff- jointed emergence into the hall with his news- 
paper, his brilliant-eyed, dried-up laugh, his chuck- 
ling assertion, like a lawyer, that he had promised 
the lessons and Shatov must not be disappointed ; 
the suspicion that Mrs. Bailey was passing the 
moments in fear of losing a well-to-do newcomer, 
an important person brought in by her only good 
boarder ; the wretched sense of being caught and 
linked up again in the shifts and deceptions of the 
bankrupt house ; the uselessness ; the certainty 
that the new man, as described, would be retained 
only by his temporary ignorance and helplessness, 


the vexatious thought of him, waiting upstairs in 
the drawing-room in a state of groundlessly aroused 
interest and anticipation, Mr. Rodkin's irre- 
sponsible admiring spectator's confidence as he 
made the introductions and vanished whilst the 
little dark frock-coated figure standing alone in the 
cold gaslight of the fireless room was still in the 
attitude of courteous obeisance ; the happy ease of 
explaining to the controlledly waiting figure the 
impossibility of giving lessons on one's own language 
without the qualification of study ; his lifted head, 
the extraordinary gentleness of the white, tremulous, 
determined features, the child-like openness of the 
broad forehead, the brilhant gentle deprecating 
eyes, familiar handsome unknown kindliness gleam- 
ing out between the high arch of rich black hair and 
the small black sharply-pointed French beard ; the 
change in the light of the cold room with the sound 
of the warm deep voice ; the few well-chosen 
struggling words ; scholarship ; that strange sense 
that foreigners bring, of knowing and being known, 
but without the irony of the French or the 
plebeianism of Germans and Scandinavians, bring- 
ing a consciousness of being on trial, but without 

The trial would bring exposure. Reading and 
discussion would reveal ignorance of English litera- 
ture. . . . 

The hour of sitting accepted as a student, talking 
easily, the right phrases remembering themselves 
in French and German, would not come again ; the 
sudden outbreak of happiness after mentioning 
Renan how had she suddenly known that he 


made the Old Testament like a newspaper ? 
Parfaitement ; j'ai toujours ete fort interesse dans 
la philosophie. After reading so long ago, not 
understanding at the time and knowing she would 
only remember, without words, something that had 
come from the pages. Perhaps that was how 
students learned ; reading and getting only a 
general impression and finding thoughts and words 
years afterwards ; but then how did they pass 
examinations ? 

For that moment they had been students together, 
exchanging photographs of their minds. That 
could not come again. It was that moment that 
had sent him away at the end of the lesson, plung- 
ing lightly upstairs, brumming in his deep voice, 
and left her singing in the drawing-room .... the 
best way would be to consider him as something 
superfluous, to be forgotten all day and presently, 
perhaps quite soon, to disappear altogether. . . . 
But before her exposure brought the lessons to an 
end and sent him away to find people who were as 
learned as he was, she would have heard more. 
To-morrow he would bring down the Spinoza book. 
But it was in German. They might begin with 
Renan in English. But that would not be reading 
English. He would demur and disapprove. English 
literature. Stopford Brooke. He would think it 
childish ; not sceptical enough. Matthew Arnold. 
Emerson. Emerson would be perfect for reading ; 
he would see that there was an English writer who 
knew everything. It would postpone the news- 
papers, and meanwhile she could find out who was 
Prime Minister and something about the English 


system of education. He must read Emerson ; one 
could insist that it was the purest English and the 
most beautiful. If he did not like it, it would 
prove that his idea that the Russians and the 
English were more alike than any other Europeans 
was an illusion. Emerson ; and the Comet. 

Mr. Shatov stood ceremoniously waiting and 
bowing as on the previous evening, a stranger 
again ; conversational interchange was far away at 
the end of some chance opening that the hour 
might not bring. Miriam clasped her volume ; she 
could fill the time triumphantly in correcting his 
accent and intonation, after a few remarks about 
the comet. 

Confronting him she could not imagine him 
related to Emerson. No continental could fully 
appreciate Emerson ; except perhaps Maeterlinck. 
It would have been better to try something more 
simple, with less depth of truth in it. Darwin or 
Shakespeare. But Shakespeare was poetry ; he 
could not go about in England talking Shakespeare. 
And Darwin was bad, for men. 

He listened in his subdued controlled way to her 
remark and again she saw him surrounded by his 
world of foreign universities and professors, and 
wondered for a sharp instant whether she were 
betraying some dreadful English, middle-class, 
newspaper ignorance ; perhaps there were no 
longer any comets ; they were called by some other 
name ... he might know whether there was still 
a nebular theory and whether anything more had 


been done about the electrical contact of metals 
. . . that man in the Reveu des deux Mondes 
saying that the first outbreak of American litera- 
ture was unfortunately feminine. Mill thought 
intuition at least as valuable as ratiocination .... 
Mill ; he could read Mill. Emerson would be a 
secret attack on him, an eloquent spokesman for 
things no foreigner would agree with. " Ah yes," 
he said thoughtfully, " I always have had great 
interest for astronomy, but now please tell me," he 
lifted yesterday's radiant face. Had there been 
yesterday that glow of crimson tie showing under 
the point of his black beard and the gold watch- 
chain across the blackness of his waistcoat ? " how 
I shall obtain admission to the British Moozayum." 
Mirian gave instructions delightedly. Mr. Shatov 
hunched crookedly in his chair, his head thrown up 
and listening towards her, his eyebrows raised as if 
he were singing and on his firm small mouth the 
pursed look of a falsetto note. His brown eyes were 
filmed, staring averted, as if fixed on some far-away 
thing that did not move ; it was like the expression 
in the eyes of Mr. Helsing but older and less scorn- 
ful. There was no scorn at all, only a weary 
cynically burning knowledge, yet the eyes were 
wide and beautiful with youth. Yesterday's look 
of age and professorship had gone ; he was wearing 
a little short coat ; in spite of the beard he was a 
student, only just come from being one amongst 
many, surrounded in the crowding sociable foreign 
way ; it gave his whole expression a warmth ; the 
edges of his fine soft richly-dented black hair, the 
contours of his pale face, the careless hunching of hi$ 


clothes seemed in a strange generous way unknown 
in England, at the disposal of his fellow-creatures. 
Only in his eyes was the contradictory lonely look 
of age. But when they came round to meet hers, 
his head still reined up and motionless, she seemed 
to face the chubby upright determination of a baby, 
and the deep melancholy in the eyes was like the 
melancholy of a puppy, 

" Pairhaps," he said, " one of your doctors shall 
sairtify me for a fit and proper person." 

Miriam stared her double stupefaction. For a 
moment, as if to give her time to consider his 
suggestion, his smile remained, still deferential but 
with the determined boldness of a naughty child 
lurking behind it ; then his eyes fell, too soon to 
catch her answering smile. She could not, with his 
determined unaverted and now nervously quivering 
face before her, either discourage the astounding 
suggestion or resent his complacent possession of 
information about ber. 

" I should tell you," he apologised gently, " that 
Mrs. Bailey has say me you are working in the 
doctors' quarter of London." 

" They are not doctors," said Miriam, feeling 
stiffly English, and in her known post as dental 
secretary utterly outside his world of privileged 
studious adventure, " and you want a householder 
who is known to you and not a hotel or boarding- 
house keeper." 

" That is very English. But no matter. Perhaps 
it shall be sufficient that I am graduate." 

" You could go down and see the librarian, you 
must write a statement." 


" That is an excellent idee." 
" I am a reader, but not a householder." 
" No matter. That is most excellent. You shall 
pairhaps introduce me to this gentleman. Ah, that 
is very good. I shall be most happy to find myself 
in that institution. It is one of my heartmost 
dreams of England to find myself in midst of 

all these leeter-aytchoors When can we 


There was a ring on the little finger of the hand 
that drew from an inner pocket a limp leather 
pocket-book ; pale old gold curving up to a small 
pimple of jewels. The ringed hand moving 
above the dip of the double watch-chain gave to 
his youth a strange look of mellow wealthy middle 

" Ah. I must write in English. Please tell me. 
But shall we not go at once, this evanink ? " 
" We can't ; the reading-room closes at eight." 
" That is very English ; well ; tell me what I 
shall write." 

Miriam watched as he wrote with a small quick 
smoothly moving pencil. The pale gold of the 
ring was finely chased. The small cluster of tiny 
soft-toned pearls encircling and curving up to a 
small point of diamond were set in a circlet of 
enamel, a marvellous rich deep blue. She had her 
Emerson ready when the writing was done. 

" What is Emerson ? " he enquired, sitting back 
to restore his book to its pocket. " I do not know 
this writer." His reared head had again the look 
of heady singing, young, confronting everything, 
and with all the stored knowledge that can be 


given to wealthy youth prepared to meet her 
precious book. If he did not Hke it there was 
something shallow in all the wonderful continental 
knowledge ; if he found anything in it ; if he 
understood it at all, they could meet on that one 
little plot of equal ground ; he might even under- 
stand her carelessness about all other books. 

" He is an American," she said, desperately hand- 
ing him the little green volume. 

" A most nice little volume," he demurred, " but 
I find it strandge that you offer me the book of an 

" It is the most perfect English you could have. 
He is a New Englander, a Bostonian ; the Pilgrim 
Fathers ; they kept up the English of our best 
period. The fifteenth century." 

" That is most interesting," he said gravely, 
turning the precious pages. " Why have I not 
heard of this man ? In Russia we know of course 
their Thoreau, he has a certain popularity amongst 
extremists, and I know also of course their great 
poet, Vitmann. I see that this is a kind of philo- 
sophical disquisitions." 

" You could not possibly have a better book for 
style and phraseology in English, quite apart from 
the meaning." 

" iVo," he said, with reproachful gravity, " pre- 
ciosity I cannot have." 

Miriam felt out of her depth. "Perhaps you 
won't like Emerson," she said, " but it will be good 
practice for you. You need not attend to the 

" Well, ach-ma, we shall try, but not this evanink ; 


I have headache, we shall rather talk ; let us return 
to the soobjects we have discussed yesterday." 
He rested his elbows on the table, supporting his 
chin on one hand, his beard askew, one eye reduced 
to a slit by the bulge of his pushed up cheek, his 
whole face suddenly pallid and heavy, sleepy- 

" I am woj-^interested in philosophy," he said, 
glowering warmly through his further, wide-open 
eye. " It was very good to me. I found myself 
most excited after our talk of yesterday. I think 
you too were interested ? " 

" Yes, wasn't it extraordinary ? " Miriam paused 
to choose between the desire to confess her dread of 
confronting a full-fledged student and a silence that 
would let him go on talking while she contemplated 
a series of reflections extending forward out of 
sight from his surprising admission of fellowship. 
It was so strange, an exhilaration so deep and throw- 
ing such wide thought-inviting illumination, to 
discover that he had found yesterday exceptional ; 
that he too, with all his wonderful life, found 
interest scattered only here and there. Mean- 
while his eagerness to rekindle without fresh fuel, 
the glow of yesterday, confessed an immaturity 
that filled her with a tumult of astonished solici- 

" You must let me correct your English to-day," 
she said, busily taking him with her voice by the 
hand in a forward rush into the empty hour that was 
to test, perhaps to destroy the achievement of 
their first meeting. " Just now you said ' the sub- 
jects we have discussed yesterday.' ' Have ' is the 


indefinite past ; ' yesterday,' as you used it, is a 
definite point of time ; passe defini, we discussed 
yesterday. We have always discussed these things 
on Thursdays. We always discussed these things on 
Thursdays. Those two phrases have different 
meanings. The first indefinite because it suggests 
the discussions still going on, the second definite 
referring to a fixed period of past time." 

She had made her speech at the table and 
glanced up at him apologetically. Marvelling at 
her unexpected knowledge of the grammar of her 
own tongue, called into being she supposed by the 
jar of his inaccuracy, she had for a moment almost 
forgotten his presence. 

" I perceive," he said shifting his chin on his 
hand to face her fully, with bent head and moving 
beard-point ; his voice came again as strange, from 
an immense distance ; he was there like a ghost ; 
" that you are in spite of your denials a most 
excellent institutrice. Ach-ma ! My English is 
bad. You shall explain me all these complications 
of English verb-mixing ; but to-night I am reeally 
too stupid." 

" It is all quite easy ; it only appears to be 

" It shall be easy ; you have, I remark, a more 
clear pure English than I have met ; and I am very 
intelligent. It shall not be difliicult." 

Miriam hid her laughter by gathering up one of 
his books with a random question. But how brave. 

Why should not people admit intelligence ? 

It was a sort of pamphlet, in French. 

" Ah, that is most interesting ; you shall at once 


read it. He is a most intelligent man. I have hear 
this lectchoor " 

" I heard, I heard," cried Miriam. 

" Yes ; but excuse a moment. Really it is 
interstink. He is one of the most fine lecturours of 
Sorbonne ; membre de 1' Academic ; the soobject 
is 1' Attention. Ah it is better we shall speak in 

" Nur auf deutsch kann man gut philosophieren," 
quoted Miriam disagreeing with the maxim and 
hoping he would not ask where she had read it. 

" That is not so ; that is a typical German 
arrogance. The French have some most distin- 
guished p-sychologues, Taine, and more recently, 
Tarde. But listen." 

Miriam listened to the description of the lecture. 
For a while he kept to his careful slow English and 
her attention was divided between her growing 
interest in the nature of his mistakes, her desire to 
tell him that she had discovered that he spoke 
Norman English in German idiom with an intona- 
tion that she supposed must be Russian, and the 
fascination of watching for the fall of the dead- 
white, black-fringed eyelids on to the brooding 
face, between the framing of each sentence. When 
he passed into French, led by a quotation which was 
evidently the core of the lecture, she saw the 
lecturer, and his circle of students and indignantly 
belaboured him for making, and them for quietly 
listening to the assertion that it is curious that the 
human faculty of attention should have originated 
in women. 

Certainly she would not read the pamphlet. 


However clever the man might be, his assumptions 
about women made the carefully arranged and 
solemnly received display of research, irntatingly 
valueless. And Mr. Shatov seemed to agree, quite 
as a matter of course. ..." Why should he be 
surprised P " she said when he turned for her 
approval. " How, surprised," he asked laughing, 
an easy deep bass chuckle, drawing his small mouth 
wide and up at the corners ; a row of small square 
even teeth shining out. 

" Ach-ma," he sighed, with shining eyes, looking 
happily replete, "he is a great p-sycho-physiologiste," 
and passed on to eager narration of the events of 
his week in Paris. Listening to the strange in- 
flections of his voice, the curiously woven argu- 
mentative sing-song tone, as if he were talking to 
himself, broken here and there by words thrown 
out with explosive vehemence, breaking defiantly 
short as if to crush opposition in anticipation, and 
then again the soft almost plaintive sing-song 
beginning of another sentence, Miriam presently 
heard him mention Max Nordau and learned that 
he was something more than the author of Degen- 
eration. He had written Die Conventionellen 
Liigen der Kulturmenscheit, which she immedi- 
ately must read. He had been to see him and found 
a truly marvellous white-haired old man, with eyes, 
alive ; so young and vigorous in his enthusiasm 
that he made Mr. Shatov at twenty-two feel old. 

After that she watched him from afar, set apart 
from his boyhood, alone with her twenty-five 
years on the borders of middle-age. There was the 
secret of the youthful untested look that showed in 


certain poses of his mature studious head. His 
beard and his courtly manner and the grave balanced 
intelligence of his eyes might have belonged to 
a man of forty. Perhaps the Paris visit had been 
some time ago. No ; he had come through France 
for the first time on his way to England. . . . 
She follow^ed him, growing weary with envy, 
through his excursions in Paris with his father ; 
went at last to the Louvre, mysterious grey build- 
ing, heavy above a row of shops, shutting in works 
of " art," in some extraordinary way understood, 
and known to be " good " ; and woke to astonish- 
ment to find him sitting alone, his father impatiently 
gone back to the hotel, for an hour in motionless 
contemplation of the Venus, having weft at the 
first sight of her in the distance. The impression 
of the Frenchman's lecture was driven away. All 
the things she had heard of on these two evenings 
were in the past. 

He was in England now, through all the wonders 
of his continental life, England had beckoned him. 
Paris had been just a stage on his confident journey ; 
and the first event of his London life would be 
Saturday's visit to the British Museum. His eager 
foreign interest would carry the visit off ... . and 
she remembered, growing in the thought suddenly 
animated towards his continued discourse, that 
she could show him the Elgin Marbles. 

The next evening, going down to the drawing- 
room at the appointed time, Miriam found it empty 
and lit only by the reflection from the street. . 


Standing in the dim blue light she knew so well, 
she passed through a moment of wondering whether 
she had ever really sat talking in this room with 
Mr. Shatov. It seemed so long ago. His mere 
presence there had been strange enough ; youth 
and knowledge and prosperity where for so long 
there had been nothing but the occasional presence 
of people who were in mysterious disgraceful 
difficulties, and no speech but the so quickly 
acrimonious interchange of those who are trying 
to carry things off. Perhaps he was only late. She 
lit the gas and leaving the door wide sat down to 
the piano. The loose flatly vibrating shallow tones 
restored her conviction that once more the house 
was as before, its usual intermittent set of boarders, 
coming punctually to meals, enduring each other 
downstairs in the warmth until bedtime, disappear- 
ing one by one up the unlighted stairs, having tea 
up here on Sundays, and for her, the freedom of the 
great dark house, the daily oblivion of moving about 
in it, the approach up the quiet endlessly dreaming 
old grey street in the afternoon, late at night, under 
all the changes of season and of weather ; the empty 
drawing-room that was hers every Sunday morning 
with its piano, and always there at night within its 
open door, inviting her into its blue-lit stillness ; 
her room upstairs, alive now and again under some 
chance spell of the weather, or some book which 
made her feel that any life in London would be 
endurable for ever that secured her room with its 
evening solitude, now and again the sense of 
strange fresh invisibly founded beginnings ; often 
a cell of torturing mocking memories and appre- 


hensions, driving her down into the house to hear 
the dreadful voices, giving out in unchanged accents, 
their unchanging words and phrases. 

Someone had come into the room, bringing a 
glow of life. She clung to her playing ; he need not 
know that she had been waiting for him. A figure 
was standing almost at her side ; with that voice 
he would certainly be musical .... the sturdiness 
and the plaintiveness were like the Russian sym- 
phonies ; he could go to the Queen's Hall ; his 
being late for the lesson had introduced music. . . . 
She broke off and turned to see Sissie Bailey, 
waiting with sullen politeness to speak. Mr. Shatov 
was out. He had gone out early in the afternoon 
and had not been seen since. In Sissie's sullenly 
worried expression Miriam read the Baileys' fear 
that they had already lost hold of their helpless new 
boarder. She smiled her acceptance and suggested 
that he had met friends. Sissie remained grimly 
responseless and presently turned to go. Resuming 
her playing, Miriam wondered bitterly where he 
could have lingered, so easily dropping his lesson. 
What did it matter .? Sooner or later he was bound 
to find interests ; the sooner the better. But she 
could not go on playing ; the room was cold and 
black ; horribly empty and still. . . . Mrs. Bailey 
would know where he had set out to go this after- 
noon ; she would have directed him. She played 
on zealously for a decent interval, closed the piano 
and went downstairs. In the dining-room was 
Sissie, alone, mending a table-cloth. 

To account for her presence Miriam enquired 
whether Mrs. Bailey were out. " Mother's lying 


down," said Sissie sullenly, " she's got one of her 
headaches." Mhiam sympathised. " I want her 
to have the doctor ; it's no use going on like this." 
Miriam was drawn irresistibly towards Mrs. Bailey, 
prostrate in her room with her headache. She 
went down the hall feeling herself young and full 
of eager strength, sinking with every step deeper 
and deeper into her early self ; back again by Eve's 
bedside at home, able to control the paroxysms of 
pain by holding her small head grasped in both 
hands ; she recalled the strange persistent strength 
she had felt, sitting with her at night, the happiness 
of the moments when the feverish pain seemed to 
run up her own arms and Eve relaxed in relief, 
the beautiful unfamiliar darkness of the midnight 
hours, the curious sharp savour of the incompre- 
hensible book she had read lying on the floor by 
the little beam of the nightlight. She could surely 
do something for Mrs. Bailey ; meeting her thus for 
the first time without the barrier of conversation ; 
at least she could pit her presence and her sympathy 
against the pain. She tapped at the door of the 
little room at the end of the passage. Presently 
a muffled voice sounded and she went in. A sense 
of release enfolded her as she closed the door of 
the little room ; it was as if she had stepped off the 
edge of her life, out into the wide spaces of the 
world. The room was lit feebly by a small lamp 
turned low within its smoky chimney. Its small 
space was sD crowded that for a moment she could 
make out no recognisable bedroom shape ; then a 
figure rose and she recognised Mr. Gunner standing 
by a low camp bedstead. It's Miss Henderson he 


said quietly. There was a murmur from the bed 
and Miriam bending over it saw Mrs. Bailey's 
drawn face, fever-flushed, with bright wild eyes. 
" We think she ought to have a doctor," murmured 
Mr. Gunner. " M'm " said Miriam absently. 

" Good of you," murmured Mrs. Bailey thickly. 
Miriam sat down in the chair Mr. Gunner had 
left and felt for Mrs. Bailey's hands. They were 
cold and trembling. She clasped them firmly and 
Mrs. Bailey sighed. " Perhaps you can persuade 
her," murmured Mr. Gunner. " M'm " Miriam 
murmured. He crept away on tiptoe. Mrs. 
Bailey sighed more heavily. " Have you tried 
anything ? " said Miriam dreamily, out into the 
crowded gloom. 

The room was full of unsightly necessaries, all 
old and in various stages of dilapidation, the over- 
flow of the materials that maintained in the rest of 
the house the semblance of ordered boarding- 
house life. But there was something vital, even 
cheerful in the atmosphere ; conquering the 
oppression of the crowded space. The aversion 
with which she had contemplated, at a distance, 
the final privacies of the Baileys behind the scenes, 
was exorcised. In the house itself there was no 
life ; but there was brave life battling in this room. 
Mrs. Bailey would have admitted her at any time, 
with laughing apologies. Now that her entry had 
been innocently achieved, she found herself re- 
joicing in the disorder, sharing the sense Mrs. 
Bailey must have, every time she retired to this 
lively centre, of keeping her enterprise going for yet 
one more day. She saw that to Mrs. Bailey the house 


must appear as an)^thing but a failure and the lack 
of boarders nothing but unaccountable bad luck. 
" A compress, or hot fomentations, hot fomenta- 
tions could not do harm and they might be very 

" Whatever you think my dear ; good of you " 
murmured Mrs. Bailey feebly. " Not a bit " said 
Miriam looking about wondering how she should 
carry out, in her ignorance, this mysteriously 
suggested practical idea. There was a small fire 
in the little narrow fireplace, with a hob on either 
side. Standing up she caught sight of a circular 
willow pattern sink basin with a tap above it and a 
cupboard below set in an alcove behind a mound of 
odds and ends. The room was meant for a sort of 
kitchen or scullery ; and it had been the doctors' 
only sitting-room. How had the four big tall men, 
with their table and all their books, managed to 
crowd themselves in ? 

In the dining-room Sissie responded with uncon- 
cealed astonishment and gratitude to Miriam's 
suggestions and bustled off for the needed materials, 
lingering, when she brought them, to make useful 
suggestions, affectionately controlling Mrs, Bailey's 
feeble efforts to help in the arrangements, and 
staying to supply Miriam's needs, a little compact 
approving presence. 

As long as the hot bandages were held to her 
head Mrs. Bailey seemed to find relief and presently 
began to murmur complaints of the trouble she 
was giving. Miriam, longing to sing, threatened 
to withdraw unless she would remain untroubled 
until she was better, or weary of the treatment, 


At ten o'clock she was free from pain, but her feet 
and limbs were cold. 

" You ought to have a pack all over," said Miriam 

" That's what I felt when you began," agreed 
Mrs. Bailey. 

" Of course. It's the even temperature. I've 
never had one, but we were all brought up 
homeopathically." Sissie went away to make 

" Was you ? " said Mrs. Bailey drawing herself 
into a sitting posture. Miriam launched into 
eager description of the little chest with its tiny 
bottles of pilules and tinctures and the small 
violet-covered book about illnesses strapped into 
its lid ; the home-life all about her as she talked. 
. . . Belladonna ; aconite ; she was back amongst 
her earliest recollections, feeling small and swollen 
and feverish ; Mrs. Bailey, sitting up, with her 
worn glad patient face seemed to her more than 
ever like her mother ; and she could not believe 
that the lore of the book and the little bottles did not 
reside with her. 

" Aconite," said Mrs. Bailey, " that was in the 
stuff the doctor give me when I was so bad last 
year." That was all new and modern. Mrs. 
Bailey must see if she could only rapidly paint 
them for her, the home scenes all about the 

" They use those things in the British Phar- 
macopcEia, but they pile them in in bucketsful 
with all sorts of minerals " she said provisionally, 
holding to her pictures while she pondered for a 


moment over the fact that she had forgotten until 
to-night that she was a homeopath. 

Mr. Gunner came quietly in with Sissie and the 
tea, making a large party distributed almost 
invisibly in the gloom beyond the circle of dim 
lamplight. There was a joyful urgency of com- 
munication in the room. But the teacups were filled 
and passed round before the accumulated inter- 
course broke through the silence in a low-toned 
remark. It seemed to come from everyone and to 
bear within it all the gentle speech that had sounded 
since the world began ; light spread outward and 
onward from the darkened room. 

Taking her share in the remarks that followed, 
Miriam marvelled. Unqualified and unprepared, 
utterly undeserving as she felt, she was aware, 
within the controlled tone of her slight words, of 
something that moved her, as she listened, to a 
strange joy. It was within her, but not herself ; 
an unknown vibrating moulding force 

When Sissie went away with the tea-things, 
Mr. Gunner came to the bedside to take leave. 
Sitting on the edge of the bed near Miriam's chair 
he bent murmuring ; Miriam rose to go ; Mrs. 
Bailey's hand restrained her. " I think you know " 
whispered Mr. Gunner, " what we are to each 
other." Miriam made no reply ; there was a 
golden suffusion before her eyes, about the grey 
pillow. Mrs. Bailey was clutching her hand. 
She bent and kissed the hollow cheek, receiving 
on her own a quick eager mother's kiss, and turned 
to offer her free hand to Mr. Gunner who painfully 
wrung it in both his own. Outside in the darkness 


St. Pancras clock was striking. She felt a sudden 
sadness. What could they know of each other ? 
What could any man and woman know of each 
other ? 

When Mr. Gunner had gone and she was alone 
with Mrs. Bailey, the trouble lifted. It was Mrs. 
Bailey who had permitted it, she who would steer 
and guide, and she was full of wisdom and strength. 
She could imerringly guide anyone through any- 
thing. But how had she arrived at permitting such 
an extraordinary thing ? 

" Poor boy," sighed Mrs. Bailey. 

" Why poor boy ? Nothing of the sort," said 

" Well, it's a comfort to me you think that ; 
I've worried meself ill over him. I've been keeping 
him off for over a twelvemonth." 

" Well, it's all settled now so you needn't worry 
any more." 

" It's his age I look to ; he's only two and 
twenty," flushed Mrs. Bailey. 

" He looks older than that." 

" He does look more than his age, I allow ; he 
never had any home ; his father married a second 
time ; he says this is the first home he's had ; he's 
never been so happy." All the time he had been 
halting about in the evenings in the dining-room, 
never going out and seeming to have nothing to do 
but a sort of malicious lying-in-wait to make 
facetious remarks, he had been feeling at home, 
happy at home, and growing happier and happier. 
Poor little man, at home in nothing but the dining- 
room at Tansley Street. . . . Mrs. Bailey. .... 


Was he good enough for her ? She had not always 
liked or even approved of him. 

" Well ; that's lovely. Of course he has been 
happy here." 

" That's all very well for the past ; but there's 
many breakers ahead. He wants me to give up and 
have a little home of our own. But there's my 
chicks. I can't give up till they're settled. I've 
told him that. I can't do less than my duty by 

" Of course not. He's a dear. I think he's 
splendid." But how generously glowing the 
struggling house seemed now ; compared to a 
life alone, in some small small corner, with Mr. 

" Bless 'im. He's only a clurk, poor boy, at 
thirty-five weekly." 

" Of course clerks don't make much ; unless they 
have languages. He ought to learn one or two lan- 

" He's not over strong. It's not money I'm 
thinking of — " she flushed and hesitated and then 
said with a girlish rush, " I'd manage ; once I'm 
free ; I'd manage. I'd work my fingers to the bone 
for 'im." Marvellous, for a little man who would 
go on writing yours of yesterday's date to hand as 
per statement enclosed ; nothing in his day but his 
satisfaction in the curves and flourishes of his 
handwriting . . . and then home comforts, Mrs. 
Bailey always there, growing more worn and ill and 
old ; an old woman before he was thirty. 

" But that won't be for a long time yet ; though 
Polly's doing splendid." 



" Is she ? " 

*' Well, I oughtn't to boast. But they've wrote 
me she's to be pupil-teacher next year." 

" Polly P " 

" Polly," bridled Mrs. Bailey and laughed with 
shining eyes. " The chahld's not turned fifteen yet, 
dear little woman blesser." Miriam winced ; poor 
little Polly Bailey, to die so soon, without know- 
ing it. 

" Oh, that's magnificent." Perhaps it was 
magnificent. Perhaps a Bailey would not feel 
cheated and helpless. Polly would be a pupil- 
teacher, perkily remaining her same self, a miniature 
of Mrs. Bailey, already full of amused mysterious 
knowledge and equal to every occasion. 

Mrs. Bailey smiled shyly, " She's like her poor 
mother ; she's got a will of her own." Miriam sat 
at ease within the tide. . . . where did women find 
the insight into personality that gave them such 
extraordinary prophetic power ? She herself had 
not an atom of it. Perhaps it was matronhood ; 
and Mary hid all these things in her heart. No ; 
aunts often had it, even more than matrons ; Mrs. 
Bailey was so splendidly controlled that she was an 
aunt as well as a mother to the children. She 
contemplated the sharply ravaged little head, 
reared and smiling above the billows of what 
people called ' misfortunes ' by her conscious and 
self-confessed strength of will ; yes, and un- 
conscious fairness and generosity, reflected Miriam 
and an immovable sense of justice. All these years 
of scraping and contrivance had not corrupted Mrs. 
Bailey ; she ought to be a judge, and not Mr. 


Gunner's general servant. . . . Justice is a woman ; 
blindfolded ; seeing from the inside and not led 
away by appearances ; men invent systems of 
ethics, but they cannot weigh personality ; they 
have no individuality, only conformity or non- 
conformity to abstract systems ; yet it was im- 
possible to acknowledge the power of a woman, 
of any woman she had ever known, without 
becoming a slave ; or to associate with one, except 
in a time of trouble ; but in her deliberate excursion 
into this little room she was free ; all her life lay 
far away, basking in freedom ; spreading out and 
out, illimitable ; each space and part a full cup on 
which no hand might be laid .... that little man 
was just a curious foreign voice, which would 
presently rouse her impatience .... and just now 
he had seemed so near. . . . Was she looking at him 
with Mrs. Bailey's eyes ? Mrs. Bailey would say, 
" oh yes, I think he's a very nice little man." 
Beyond his distinction as a well-to-do boarder, he 
would have, in her eyes, nothing to single him out ; 
she would respect his scholarship, but regarding it 
as a quality peculiar to certain men ; and without 
the knowledge that it was in part an accident of 
circumstance. She would see beyond it ; she would 
never be prostrate before it. 

But the distant vision of the free life was not 
Mrs. Bailey's vision ; there was something there she 
could not be made to understand, and would in any 
way there were words that tried to express it, 
certainly not approve. Yet why did it come so 
strongly here in her room ? The sense of it was 
here, somewhere in their intercourse, but she was 


unconscious of it Miriam plumbed about 

in the clear centre — where without will or plan or 
any shapely endeavour in her life, she was yet so 
strangely accepted and indulged. Mrs. Bailey was 
glancing back at her from the depths of her abode, 
her face busy in control of the rills of laughter 
sparkling in her eyes and keeping, Miriam knew, as 
she moved, hovering, and saw the fostering light 
they shed upon the world, perpetual holiday ; the 
reassuring inexhaustible substance of Mrs. Bailey's 

" It's Sissie I worry about," said Mrs. Bailey. 
Miriam attended curiously. " She's like her dear 
father ; keeps herself to herself and goes on ; 
she's a splendid little woman in the house ; but I 
feel she ought to be doing something more. " 

" She's awfully capable " said Miriam. 

" She is. There's nothing she can't turn her 
hand to. She'll have the lock off a door and mend 
it and put it on again and put in a pane of glass 
neater than a workman and no mess or fuss." 
Miriam sat astonished before the expanding ac- 
cumulation of qualities. 

" I don't know how I should spare her ; but she's 
not satisfied here ; I've been wondering if I 
couldn't manage to put her into the typing." 

" There's isn't much prospect there " recited 
Miriam, " the supply is bigger than the de- 

" That it so " assented Mrs. Bailey ; " but I sec 
it like this ; where there's a will there's a way and 
one has to make a beginning." Mrs. Bailey had 
made up her mind. Quite soon Sissie would know 


typewriting ; a marketable accomplishment ; she 
would rank higher in the world than a dental 
secretary ; a lady typist with a knowledge of French. 
That would be her status in an index. No doubt in 
time she would learn shorthand. She would go 
capably about, proud of her profession ; with a 
home to live in, comfortably well off on fifteen 
shillings a week ; one of the increasing army of 
confident illiterate young women in the city ; no, 
Sissie would not be showy ; she would bring life 
into some ofHce, amongst men as illiterate as her- 
self ; as soon as she had picked up " yours to 

hand " she would be reliable and valuable 

Sissie, with a home, and without putting forth any 
particular effort, would have a place in the 


" I'll make some inquiries " said Miriam cheer- 
fully. Mrs. Bailey thanked her with weary eager- 
ness ; she was flushed and flagging ; the evening's 
work was being cancelled by the fascination which 
had allowed her to go on talking. She admitted a 
return of her neuralgia and Miriam, remorseful and 
weary, made her lie down again. She looked 
dreadfully ill ; like someone else ; she would go off 
to sleep looking hke someone else, or lie until the 
morning, with plans going round and round in her 
head and get up, managing to be herself until 
breakfast was over. But all the time, she had a 
house to be in. She was Mrs. Bailey ; a recognised 
centre. Miriam sat alone, the now famihar little 
room added to the strange collection of her in- 
expHcable Hfe ; its lamplit walls were dear to her, 
with the extraordinary same dearness of all walls 


seen in tranquillity. She seemed to be responding 
to their gaze. Had she answered Mrs. Bailey's 
murmur about going to bed ? It seemed so long 
ago. She sat until the lamp began to fail and Mrs. 
Bailey appeared to be going to sleep. She crept out 
at last into the fresh still darkness of the sleeping 
house. On the first floor there was a glimmer of 
blue light. It was the street lamp shining in 
through Mr. Shatov's wide-open empty room. 
When she reached her own room she found that it 
was one o'clock. Already he had found his way to 
some horrible haunt. She wrapped her evening 
round her, parrying the thought of him. There 
should be no lesson to-morrow. She would be out, 
having left no message. 

When she came in the next evening he was in 
the hall. He came forward with his bearded 
courteous emphatically sweeping foreign bow ; a 
foreign professor bowing to an audience he was 
about to address. Bittc verzeihen Sie, he began, 
his rich low tones a little breathless ; the gong 
blared forth just behind him ; he stood rooted, 
holding her with respectful melancholy gaze as his 
lips went on forming their German sentences. The 
clangour died down ; people were coming down- 
stairs drawing Miriam's gaze as he moved from their 
pathway into the dining-room, still facing her with 
the end of his little speech lingering nervously on 
his features. He was in his frock-coat and shone 
richly black and white under the direct lamplight ; 
he was even more handsome than she had thought, 


solidly beautiful, glowing in shapely movement as 
he stood still and gestureless before her, set off by 
the shapelessly moving, dinner drawn forms passing 
into the dining-room. She smiled in response to 
whatever he may have said and wondered, having 
apologised for yesterday, in what way he w^ould 
announce to her the outside engagement for this 
evening for which he was so shiningly prepared. 
" Zo," he said gravely, " if you are now free, I will 
almost immediately come up ; we shall not wait 
till eight o'clock." Miriam bowed in response to 
the sweeping obeisance with which he turned into 
the dining-room, and ran upstairs. He came up 
before the end of the first course, before she had had 
time to test in the large overmantel the shape of 
her hair that had seemed in the little mirror 
upstairs, accidentally good, quite like the hair of 
someone who mysteriously knew how to get good 

" I have been sleeping," he said in wide cheerful 
tones as he crossed the room, " all day until now. 
I am a little stupid ; but I have very many things to 
say you. First I must say you," he said more 
gravely and stood arrested with his coat tails 
in his hands, in front of the chair opposite to 
hers at a little table, " that your Emerson is most- 

Miriam could not believe she had heard the deep- 
toned emphatic words. She stared stupidly at 
his unconscious thoughtful brow ; for a strange 
moment feeling her own thoughts and her own 
outlook behind it. She felt an instant's pang of 
disappointment ; the fine brow had lost something. 


seemed familiar, almost homely. But an immense 
relief was surging through her. " No — Ree — ally, 
most-wonderful," he reiterated with almost re- 
proachful emphasis, sitting down with his head 
eagerly forward between his shoulders, waiting for 
her response. " Yes, isnH he ? " she said encourag- 
ingly and waited in a dream while he sat back and 
drew little volumes from his pocket, his white eye- 
lids downcast below his frowning brow. Would he 
qualify his praise ? Had he read enough to come 
upon any of the chills and contradictions ? How- 
ever this might be, Emerson had made upon this 
scholarly foreigner, groping in him with his scanty 
outfit of language, an overwhelming impression. 
Her own lonely overwhelming impression was 
justified. The eyes came up again, gravely earnest. 
" No," he said, " I find it most difficult to express 
the profound impression this reading have made 
on me." 

" He isn't a bit original," said Miriam surprised 
by her unpremeditated conclusion, " when you 
read him you feel as if you were following your own 

" That is so ; he is not himself philosophe ; I 
would call him rather, poete ; a most remarkable 
quality of English, great dignity and with at the 
same time a most perfect simplicity." 

" He understands everything ; since I have had 
that book I have not wanted to read anything else 
.... except Maeterlinck " she murmured in 
afterthought, " and in a way he is the same." 

" I do not know this writer " said Mr. Shatov, 
" and what you say is perhaps not quite good. But 


in a manner I can have some sympa-thaytic appry- 
siacion with this remark. I have read yesterday the 
v^^hole day ; on different omnibuses. Ah. It was 
for me most-wondeihii.'^ 

" Well, I always feel, all the time, all day, that if 
people would only read Emerson they would under- 
stand, and not be like they are, and that the only 
way to make them understand what one means 
would be reading pieces of Emerson." 

" That is true ; why should you not do it ? " 

" Quotations are feeble ; you always regret 
making them." 

" No ; I do not agree," said Mr. Shatov devoutly 
smiling, " you are wrong." 

" Oh, but think of the awful people who quote 

" Ach-ma. People are, in general, silly. But I 
must tell you you should not cease to read until you 
shall have read at least some Russian writers. If you 
possess sensibility for language you shall find that 
Russian is ww^beautiful ; it is perhaps the most 
beautiful European language ; it is, indubitably, 
the most rich." 

" It can't be richer than English." 

" Certainly, it is richer than English. I shall 
prove this to you, even with dictionary. You shall 
find that it occur, over and over, that where in 
English is one word, in Russian is six or seven 
different, all synonyms, but all with most delicate 
individual shades of nuance .... the abstractive 
expression is there, as in all civilised European 
languages, but there is also in Russian the most 
immense variety of natural expressions, coming 


forth from the strong feeling of the Russian nature 
to all these surrounding influences ; each word 
opens to a whole aper^u in this sort .... and 
what is most significant is, the great richness, in 
Russia, of the people-language ; there is no other 
people-language similar ; there is in no one 
language so immense a variety of tender diminutives 
and intimate expressions of all natural things. None 
is so rich in sound or so marvellously powerfully 

colourful That is Russian. Part of the 

reason is no doubt to find in the immense paysage ; 
Russia is zo vast ; it is inconceivable for any non- 
Russian. There is also the ethnological explanation, 
the immense vigour of the people." 

Miriam went forward in a dream. As Mr. 
Shatov's voice went on, she forgot everything but 
the need to struggle to the uttermost against the 
quiet strange attack upon English ; the double line 
of evidence seemed so convincing and was for the 
present unanswerable from any part of her small 
store of knowledge ; but there must be an answer ; 
meantime the suggestion that the immense range 
of English was partly due to its unrivalled collection 
of technical terms, derived from English science, 
commerce, sports, " all the practical life-man- 
oeuvres " promised vibrating reflection, later. 

But somewhere outside her resentful indignation, 
she found herself reaching forward unresentfully 
towards something very far-off, and as the voice 
went on, she felt the touch of a new strange 
presence in her Europe. She listened, watching 
intently, far-off, hearing now only a voice, moving 
on, without connected meaning. . . . The strange 


thing that had touched her was somewhere within 
the voice ; the sound of Russia. So much more 
strange, so much wider and deeper than the sound 
of German or French or any of the many tongues 
she had heard in this house, the inpouring impression 
was yet not ahen. It was not foreign. There was no 
barrier between the Hfe in it and the sense of 
life that came from within. It expressed that 
sense ; in the rich, deep various sound and colour 
of its inflections, in the strange abruptly controlled 
shapeliness of the phrases of tone carrying the 
whole along, the voice was the very quality he had 
described, here, alive : about her in the room. It 
was, she now suddenly heard, the disarming, 
unforeign thing in the voice of kind commercial 
little Mr. Rodkin. Then there was an answer. 
There was something in common between English 
.and this strange language that stood alone in 
Europe. She came back and awoke to the moment, 
weary. Mr. Shatov had not noticed her absence. 
He was talking about Russia. Unwillingly she gave 
her flagging attention to the Russia already in her 
mind ; a strip of silent sunlit snow, just below 
Finland, St. Petersburg in the midst of it, rounded 
squat square white architecture piled solidly 
beneath a brilliant sky, low sledges smoothly gliding, 
drawn by three horses, bell-spanned, running 
wildly abreast, along the silent streets or out into 
the deeper silence of dark, snow-clad wolf-haunted 
forests that stretched indefinitely down the map ; 
and listened as he drew swift pictures, now north, 
now south. Vast outlines emerged faintly, and 
here and there a patch remained, vivid. She saw 


the white nights of the northern winter, felt the 
breaking through of spring in a single day. Whilst 
she lingered at Easter festivals in churches, all rich 
deep colour blazing softly through clouds of 
incense, and imagined the mighty sound of Russian 
singing, she was carried away to villages scattered 
amongst great tracts of forest, unimaginable dis- 
tances of forest, the vast forests of Germany small 

and homely each village a brilliant miniature 

of Russia, in every hut a holy image ; brilliant colour- 
ing of stained carved wood, each peasant a striking 
picture, filling the eye in the clear light, many 
" most-dignified " ; their garments coloured with 
natural dyes, " the most pure plant-stain colours," 
deep and intense. She saw the colours, mat and 
sheenless, yet full of light, taking the light in and in, 
richly, and turned grievously to the poor cheap 
tones in all the western shops, clever shining 
chemical dyes, endless teasing variety, without 
depth or feeling, cheating the eye of life ; and back 

again homesick to the rich tones of reality 

She passed down the winding sweep of the Volga, 
a consumptive seeking health, and out into the 
southern plains where wild horses roamed at large, 
and stayed at a lodge facing towards miles and 
miles of shallow salt water, sea-gull haunted, and 
dotted with floating islands of reeds, so matted and 
interwoven that one could get out from the little 
shallow leaky fishing-boat and walk upon them ; and 
over all a crystal air so life-giving that one recovered. 
She heard the peasants in the south singing in 
strong deep voices, dancing by torchlight a wild 
dance with a name that described the dance. . . . 


Throughout the recital were vivid words, each a 
picture of the thing it expressed. She would never 
forget them. Russia was recognisable. So was 
ever)^ language .... but no foreign sound had 
brought her such an effect of strength and musical 
beauty and expressiveness combined. That was it. 
It was the strange number of things that were 
together in Russian that was so wonderful. In the 
end, back again in England, sitting in the cold 
dilapidated room before the table of little books, 
weary, opposite Mr. Shatov comfortably groaning 
and stretching, his eyes already brooding in pursuit 
of something that would presently turn into 
speech, she struggled feebly with a mournful 
uneasiness that had haunted the whole of the 
irrevocable expansion of her consciousness. A 
German, not a Russian ethnologist, and therefore 
without prejudice, had declared that the Russians 
were the strongest kinetic force in Europe. He 
proved himself disinterested by saying that the 
English came next. The English were " simple 
and fundamentally sound." Not intelligent ; but 
healthy in will, which the Russians were not. Then 
why were the Russians more forceful ? What was 
kinetic force ? And . . . mystery .... the 
Russians themselves knew what they were like. 
" There is in Russia except in the governing and 
bourgeois classes almost no hypocrisy." What was 
kinetic. . . And religion was an " actual force " 
in Russia ! " What is ki " 

" Ah but you shall at least read some of our great 
Russian authors .... at least Tourgainyeff and 


" Of course I have heard of Tolstoy." 

" Ah, but you shall read. He has a most profound 
knowledge of human psychology ; the most 
marvellous touches. In that he rises to univer- 
sality. Tourgainyev is more pure Russian, less to 
understand outside Russia ; more academical ; but 
he shall reveal you most admirably the Russian 
aristocrat. He is cynic satirical." 

" Then he can't reveal anything^'* said Miriam. 
Here it was again ; Mr. Shatov, too, took satire 
quite unquestioningly ; thought it a sort of 
achievement, worthy of admiration. Perhaps if 
she could restrain her anger, she would hear at least 
in some wonderful explanatory continental phrase, 
what satire really was, and be able to settle with 
herself why she knew it was in the long run, waste 
of time ; why the word satirist suggested someone 
with handsome horns and an evil clever eye and 
thin cold lingers. Thin. Swift was probably fear- 
fully thin. Mr. Shatov was smiling incredulously. 
If he went on to explain she would miss the more 
important worrying thing. Novels. It was extra- 
ordinary that he should. . . . 

" I don't care for novels. . . I can't see what 
they arc about. They seem to be an endless fuss 
about nothing." 

" That may apply in certain cases. But it is a 
too extreme statement." 

" It is extreme. Why not ? How can a state- 
ment be too extreme if it is true ? " 

" I cannot express an opinion on English novel- 
istic writings. But of Tolstoy it is certainly not 
true. 'No ; it is not in general true that in fictional 


representations there is no actuality. I have read 
with my first English teacher in Moscow a story of 
your Myne-Reade. There was in this story a 
Scotch captain who remained for me most typical 
British. He was very fine this chap. This presenta- 
tion here made me the more want what I have want 
always since a boy ; to come to England." Was 
Mayne Reade a novelist ? Those boys' stories were 
glorious. But they were about the sea ; and 
the fifth form ..." a noble three-bladed knife, 
minus the blades " 

" There's a thing called the Ebb-Tide," she 
began, wondering how she could convey her im- 
pression of the tropical shore ; but Mr. Shatov's 
attention, though polite, was wandering, " I've 
read some of Gorki's short stories," she finished 
briskly. They were not novels ; they were alive in 
some way English books were not. Perhaps all 
Russian books were. . . 

" Ah Gorrrki. He is come out direct from the 
peasantry ; very powerfully strange and rough 
presentations. He may be called the apostle of 

. . . the bakery and the yard ; the fighting 
eagles, the old man at the prow of the boat with 
his daughter-in-law. . . . All teaching something. 
How did people find it out ? 

" But really I must tell you of yesterday " said 
Mr. Shatov warmly. " I have made a Schach- 
Partei. That was for me very good. It include 
also a certain exploration of London. That is for 
me I need not say most fascinatinky Miriam 
listened eagerly. The time was getting on ; they 


had done no work. She had not once corrected him 
and he was plunging into his preHminary story as 
if their hour had not yet begun. She was to 
share. . . 

" There was on one of these many omnibuses a 
gentleman who tell me where in London I shall 
obtain a genuine coffee. Probably you know it is at 
this Vienna Cafe, in Holeborne. You do not know 
this place ? Stra?ige. It is quite near to you all the 
time. Almost at your British Museum. Ah ; this 
gentleman has told me too a most funny story of a 
German who go there proudly talking English. He 
was waiting ; ach they are very slow in this place, 
and at last he shouts for everyone to hear, Vaiter ! 
Venn shall I become a cup of coffee ? " 

Miriam laughed her delight apprehensively. 
" Ah, I like very much these stories," he was saying, 
his eyes dreamily absent, she feared, on a memory- 
vista of similar anecdotes. But in a moment he was 
alive again in his adventure. " It was at London 
Bridge. I have come all the way, walkingly, to this 
Cafe. It is a strange place. Really glahnend ; 
Viennese ; very dirrty. But coffee most excellent ; 
just as on the Continent. You shall go there ; you 
will see. Upstairs it is most dreadful. More 
dirrty ; and in an intense gloom of smoke, very 
many men, ah they are dreadful, I could not 
describe to you. Like monkeys ; but all in Schach- 
parteis. That shall be very good for me. I am 
most enthusiastic with this game since a boy." 

" BilHards ? " 

Why should he look so astonished and impatiently 
explain so reproachfully and indulgently ? She 


grasped the meaning of the movements of his 
hands. He was a chess-player " a game much 
older — uralt — and the most mental, the only 
true abstractive game." How differently an 
English chess-player would have spoken. She 
regarded his eager contained liveliness. Russian 
chess players remained alive. Was chess mental ? 
Pure tactics. Should she declare that chess was a 
dreadful boring indulgence, leading nowhere ? 
Perhaps he would be able to show her that this was 
not so. . . . Why do the Germans call two people 
playing chess a chess-party ? " I have met there a 
fnan, a Polish doctor. We have made party and 
have play until the Cafe close, when we go to his 
room and continue there to play till the morning. 
Ah, it was most-beautiful." 

" Had you met him before ? " 

" Oh no. He is in London ; stewdye-ink 

" Studdymg,^' said Miriam impatiently, lost in 
incredulous contemplation. It could not be true 
that he had sat all night playing chess with a 
stranger. If it were true, they must both be quite 

insane the door was opening. Sissie's 

voice, and Mr. Shatov getting up with an eager 
polite smile. Footsteps crossing the room behind 
her ; Mr. Shatov and a tall man shaking hands on 
the hearthrug ; two inextricable voices ; Mr. 
Shatov's presently emerging towards her, deferen- 
tially, " I present you Dr. Veslovski." The Polish 
doctor, gracefully bowing from a cold narrow 
height, Mr. Shatov, short, dumpy, deeply-radiant 
little friend, between them ; making a little speech. 


turning from one to the other. The Polish head 
was reared again on its still cold grey height ; 
undisturbed. . . . Perfect. Miriam had never 
seen anything so perfectly beautiful. Every line of 
the head and face harmonious ; the pointed beard 
finishing the lines with an expressiveness that made 
it also a feature, one with the rest. Even the 
curious long narrow capless flatly lying foreign 
boots, furrowed with mud-stiffened cracks, and 
the narrowly cut, thin, shabby grey suit shared the 
distinction of the motionless reined-in head. 
Polish beauty. If that were Polish beauty the 
Poles were the most beautiful people in Europe. 
Polish ; the word suggested the effect, its smooth 
liquid sheen, sinuous and graceful without weakness 
.... the whole word was at home in the eyes ; 
horribly beautiful, abysses of fathomless foreign 
. . . any kind of known happenings were unthink- 
able behind those eyes .... yet he was here ; come 
to play chess with Mr. Shatov who had not ex- 
pected him until Sunday, but would go now 
immediately with her permission, to fetch his set 
from upstairs. She lingered as he hurried away, 
glancing at the little books on the table. The 
Emerson was not among them. The invisible 
motionless figure on the hearthrug had brought 
her a message she had forgotten in her annoyance 
at his intrusion. Going from the room towards 
his dim reflection in the mirror near the door she 
approached the waiting thought — Mr. Shatov's 
voice broke in, talking eagerly to Mrs. Bailey on the 
floor below. From the landing she heard him beg 
that it might be some large vessel, quite voll tea ; 


some drapery to enfold it, and that the gazz might 
be left alight. They were going to play chess, 
through the night, in that cold room .... but 
the thought was gladly there. The Polish doctor's 
presence had confirmed Mr. Shatov's story. It 
had not been a young man's tale to cover an 


SHE hurried through her Saturday morning's 
work, trying to keep warm. Perhaps it was 
nervousness and excitement about the afternoon's 
appointment that made her seem so cold. At the 
end of her hour's finicking work in Mr. Hancock's 
empty fireless room, amongst cold instruments and 
chilly bottles of chemicals she was cold through. 
There was no one in the house but Mr. Leyton and 
the cousin ; nothing to support her against the 
coming ordeal. Mr. Leyton had had an empty 
morning and spent it busily scrubbing and polish- 
ing instruments in his warm little room ; retiring 
towards lunch time to the den fire with a news- 
paper. Shivering over her ledgers in the cold 
window space, she bitterly resented her inability 
to go out and get warm in an A.B.C. before meeting 
Mr. Shatov in the open. Impossible. It could not 
be afforded ; though this morning all the absolutely 
essential work could be finished by one o'clock. 
It was altogether horrible. She was not sure that 
she was even supposed to stay for lunch on Satur- 
day. The day ended at one o'clock ; unless she 
were kept"by some urgent business, there was no 
excuse. To-day she must have finished everything 
before lunch to keep her appointment. It could not 
be helped ; and at least there was no embarrassment 



in the presence of Mr. Leyton and the boy. She 
would even lock up and put on her outdoor things 
and go down in them. It would not occur to them 
that she need not have stayed to lunch .... her 
spirits rose as she moved about putting things in the 
safe. She dressed in Mr. Leyton's warm room, 
washing her hands in very hot water, thawing, 
getting warm .... the toque looked nice in his 
large mirror, quite stylish, not so home made 

worldly people always had lunch in their 

outdoor things, even when they were staying in 
a house. Sarah said people ought always to wear 

hats, especially with evening dress picture 

hats, with evening dress, made pictures. It was 
true, they would, when you thought of it. But 
Sarah had found it out for herself ; without 
opportunities ; it came, out of her mind through 
her artistic eyes. . Miriam recalled smart middle- 
aged women at the Corries, appearing at lunch in 
extraordinary large hats, when they had not been 
out ; that was the reason. It helped them to carry 
things off ; made them talk well and quickly, with 
the suggestion that they had just rushed in from 
somewhere or were just going to rush off. . . . 
She surveyed herself once more. It was true ; lunch 
even with Mr. Leyton and the cousin would be 
easier with the toque and her black coat open show- 
ing the white neckerchief. It gave an impression 
of hurry and gaiety. She was quite ready and 
looked about for entertainment for the remaining 
moments. Actually ; a book lying open on Mr. 
Leyton's table, a military drill-book of course. 
No. What was this. Wondrous Woman, by 


J. B. G. Smithson. Why so many similar English 
initials ? Jim, Bill, George, a superfluity of mannish- 
ness ... an attack of course ; she scanned pages 
and headings ; chapter upon chapter of peevish 
facetiousness ; the whole book written deliberately 
against women. Her heart beat angrily. What was 
Mr. Leyton doing with such a book .? Where had 
it come from ? She read swiftly, grasping the argu- 
ment. The usual sort of thing ; worse, because it 
was colloquial, rushing along in modern everyday 
language and in some curious way not badly 
written. . . . 

Because some women had corns, feminine beauty 
was a myth ; because the world could do without 
Mrs. Hemans' poetry, women should confine 
their attention to puddings and babies. The 
infernal complacent cheek of it. This was the kind 
of thing middle-class men read. Unable to criticise 
it, they thought it witty and unanswerable. That 
was the worst of it. Books of this sort were read 
without anyone there to point things out. ... It 
ought to be illegal to publish a book by a man 
without first giving it to a woman to annotate. 
But what was the answer to men who called women 
inferior because they had not invented or achieved 
in science or art ? On whose authority had men 
decided that science and art were greater than 
anything else ? The world could not go on until 
this question had been answered. Until then, until 
it had been clearly explained that men were always 
and always partly wrong in all their ideas, life would 
be full of poison and secret bitterness. . . Men 
fight about their philosophies and religions, there 



is no certainty in them ; but their contempt for 
women is flawless and unanimous. Even Emerson 
. . . positive and negative, north and south, male 
and female .... why negative P Maeterlinck gets 
nearest in knowing that women can live, hardly 
at all, with men, and wait, have always been wait- 
ing, for men to come to life. How can men come 
to life ; always fussing ? How could the man who 
wrote this book ? Even if it were publicly burned 
and he were made to apologise ; he would still go 
about asquint .... lunch was going to be late, 
ju^t to-day, of course. . . . 

" I say:' 

" What do you say," responded Miriam without 
looking up from her soup. Mr. Leyton had a 
topic ; she could keep it going with half her 
attention and go restfuUy on, fortifying herself for 
the afternoon. She would attack him about the 
book one day next week 

" I say. What say you George ? " 

" Me ? All right. I say, I say, I say, anythino- you 
like m'lord." 

Miriam looked up. Mr. Leyton was gazing and 

" What's the matter ? " she snapped. His eyes 
were on her toque. 

" IVhere did you get that hat ? Where did you 
get that tile," sang the cousin absently, busy with his 

" I made it if you fnust know," said Miriam. The 
cousin looked across ; large expressionless opinion- 
less eyes. 

" Going out in it ? " What was the matter : 


Mr. Leyton had never noticed anything of hers 
before ; either it was too awful, or really rather 
effective and he unconsciously resented the fact of 
her going about in an effect. 

" Why not ? " 

" Well ; looks rather like a musical comedy." 

" Cheek ; observed the cousin ; I do call that cool 
cheek ; you're balmy, Leyton." Mr. Leyton looked 
no more ; that was his genuine brotherly opinion ; 
he thought the toque showy. It was the two wings, 
meeting in the middle of the front ; he meant 
pantomime ; he did not know the wings were 
cheap ; he was shocked by the effectiveness ; it 
was effective ; cheap and hateful ; but it suited 
her ; pantomime effects were becoming. Where 
was the objection ? 

" That's all right. I'm glad. I like musical 

" Oh ; if you're satisfied. If you don't mind 
looking risky." 

" I say, look here old man, steady on," blushed 
the cousin. 

" Well. What do you think yourself ? Come 

" I think it's jolly pretty." 

"/ think it's jolly >j/." 

Miriam was quite satisfied. The cousin's opinion 
went for nothing ; a boy zuould like pantomime 
effects. But the hat was neither ugly nor dowdy. 
She would be able to tear down Oxford Street, no 
matter how ugly the cold made her feel, looking 
fast. It would help her to carry off meeting 
Mr. Shatov. He would not notice hats. But the 


extraordinary, rather touching thing was that 
Mr. Leyton should trouble at all. As if she belonged 
to his world and he were in some way responsible. 

'• All right Mr. Leyton ; it's fast ; whatever 
that may mean." 

" Old Leyton thinks hats ought to be slow." 

" Look here young fellow me lad, you teach 
your " 

" Great-grandfather not to be rude." 

" I fail to see the rudeness ; I've merely ex- 
pressed an opinion and I believe Miss Henderson 
agrees with it." 

" Oh absolutely ; 3.h-solute-ly ; " chanted Miriam 
scornfully. " Pray don't worry about the pace of 
my millinery Mr. Leyton." That was quite good, 
like a society novel. . . . 

" Well as I say if you're satisfied.''^ 

" Ah. That's another matter. The next time 
I want a hat I'll go to Bond Street. So easy and 

" Seen the paper to-day, George ? " 

" Paper ? Noospaper ? No time." 

" Seen the B. M. J. ? " 

" No sir." 

" And you an aspiring medico." 

" Should be an expiring medico," yodelled 
George " if I read all those effusions." 

" Well. More disclosures from Schenck." 

" Who's he, when he's at home ? " 

" You know. Schenck, man ; Scbetik. Ton 

" Oh, sorry ; all right. What's he babbhng 
about now ? " 


" Same thing ; only more of it " giggled Mr. 

" If it's half past I must go," announced Miriam 
peremptorily. Two watches came out. 

" Then I advise you to hook it pretty sharp ; 
it's twenty to. You'd better read that article my 
son." Miriam folded her serviette. 

" Righto. Don't worry." 

" Why all this mystery ? Good morning " said 
Miriam departing. 

" Good morning " said the two voices. Mr. 
Leyton held the door open and raised his voice to 
follow her up the stairs. " We're discussing 
matters somewhat beyond your ken." 

She could not stay. She could not have tackled 
him if she had stayed. Anger was perhaps as funny 
as embarrassment. He would have been shocked 
at the idea of her quietly considering the results of 
Schenck's theory, if it proved to be true ; beyond 
her ken, indeed. It was hateful to have to leave 
that ; he ought to be robbed of the one thing that 
he imagined gave him an advantage in the presence 
of women. The women in his world would be 
embarrassed by the discussion of anything to do 
with the reproduction of the race. Why ? Why 
were the women embarrassed and the men always 
suggestive and facetious ? If only the men could 
realise what they admitted by their tone ; what 
attitude towards life. . . . 

It was a bitter east-wind ; the worst kind of day 
there was. All along Oxford Street were women in 
furs, serene, with smooth warm faces untroubled by 
the bleak black wind, perhaps even enjoying the 


cold. Miriam struggled along, towards the cruel 
east, shivering, her face shrivelled and frozen and 
burning, her brain congealed. If she were free she 
could at least have a cup of coffee and get warm and 
go into the Museum and be warm all the afternoon. 
To meet a stranger and have to be active and 
sociable when she was at her worst. He would be 
wrapped in the advantage of a fur-lined coat, or at 
least astrachan, and be able to think and speak. He 
would wonder what was the matter ; even his 
careless foreign friendhness would not survive her 
frightful appearance. Yet when a clock told her 
the appointed time was past, the torment of the 
wind grew sharper in the thought that she might 
miss him. There was the Holborn Library, as he 
had described. There was no one there, the pave- 
ment was empty ; he had given her up and gone ; 
had perhaps never come. She was reHeved. She 
had done her best. Fate had saved her ; her 
afternoon was her own. But she must show her- 
self, perhaps he might be sheltering just inside the 
door. The doorway was empty. There was a man 
leaning against the lamppost. She scanned him 
unwillingh", lest he should turn into Mr. Shatov ; 
but he produced only the details of the impression 
she had taken before she glanced, a shabby, sinister- 
looking Tottenham Court Road foreign loafer, in 
yellow boots, an overcoat of an evil shade of brown 
and a waiter's black-banded grey felt hat ; but she 
had paused and glanced and of course his eye was 
immediately upon her and his lounging figure 
upright as she swept across the pavement to gain 
the road and flee the displeasing contact. He 


almost ran into her ; trotting .... ah, I am glad 
.... it was Mr. Shatov 

Looking like that, she was now to take him in 
amongst the British Museum officials, and the 
readers she knew by sight and who knew her ; 
introduce him to the librarian. She scanned him 
as he eagerly talked, looking in vain for the presence 
she had sat with in the drawing-room ; the eyes had 
come back ; but that was all, and she could not 
forget how brooding, almost evil, they had looked 
just now. They gleamed again with intelligence ; 
but their brilliant beauty shone from a face that 
looked almost dingy, in the hard light ; and 
yellowish under the frightful hat peaked down, 
cutting off his forehead. He was gloveless and in 
his hands, grimed with walking in the winter 
streets, he held a paper bag of grapes which he ate 
as he talked, expelling the skins and flinging them 
from him as he walked .... he looked just simply 
disreputable. Even his voice had gone ; raised 
against the traffic it was narrow and squeaky ; a 
disreputable foreigner, plunging carelessly along, 
piercing her ear with mean broken English. She 
shouted vague replies in French ; in yelled French 
his voice was even more squeaky ; but the foreign 
tongue gave a refuge and a shape to their grouping ; 
she became a sort of guide ; anyone could be that 
to any sort of foreigner. 

In the cloak room were the usual ladies comfort- 
ably eating lunch from sandwich tins and talking, 
talking, talking to the staff, moving endlessly to 
and fro amongst the cages of hanging garments ; 
answering unconsciously. The mysterious ever- 


lasting work of the lunching ladies, giving them the 
privilege of being all day at the museum, always in 
the same seats, accepted and approved, seemed to 
make no mark upon them ; they bore themselves 
just as they would have done anywhere, the same 
mysteriously unfailing flow of talk, the mysterious 
basis of agreement with other women, the same 
enthusiastic discussions of the weather, the cases in 
the newspapers, their way of doing this and that, 

their opinions of places and people they 

seemed to have no sense of the place they were in, 
and yet were so extraordinarily at home there, and 
most wonderful of all, serene, with untroubled 
eyes and hands in the thin stuffy heat of the cloak- 

These thoughts came every time ; the sense of 
Mr. Shatov, busy, she hoped, washing his face and 
hands down beyond the stairs leading to the 
unknown privacies at the other end of the corridor, 
could not banish them ; the bearing of these ladies 
was the most mysterious thing in the museum. In 
this room she was always on her guard. It was 
jolly after roaming slowly across the courtyard 
towards the unfailing unchanging beauty of the 
great grey pillars, pigeon-garlanded, to wander 
through the out-branching hall to where the lame 
commissionaire held open the magic door, and fly 
along the passage and break in here, permitted, cold 
and grimy and ruffled from the street, and emerge 
washed and hatless and rested, to saunter down the 
corridor and see ahead, before becoming one of 
them, the dim various forms sitting in little circles 
of soft yellow light under the high mysterious 


dome. But In one unguarded moment in this room, 
all these women would turn into acquaintances, and 
the spell of the museum, springing forth perhaps 
for a while, intensified, would disappear for ever. 
They would turn it into themselves, varying and 
always in the end, in silence, the same. In solitude 
it remained unvarying yet never twice alike, casting 
its large increasing charm upon them as they moved 
distant and unknown. 

In the lower cloak-room there was always escape ; 
no sofas, no grouped forms. To-day it stood bare, 
its long row of basins unoccupied. She turned taps 
joyously ; icy cold and steaming hot water rushing 
to cleanse her basin from its revealing relics. They 
were all the same, and all the soaps, save one she 
secured from a distant corner, sloppy. Surveying, 
she felt with irritated repugnance, the quality, 
slap-dash and unaware, of the interchange accom- 
panying and matching the ablutions. A woman 
came out of a lavatory and stood at her side, also 
swiftly restoring a basin. It was she. . . . Miriam 

envied the basin Freely watching the 

peaceful face in the mirror, she washed with an 
intense sense of sheltering companionship. Far in 
behind the peaceful face serene thoughts moved, 
not to and fro, but outward and forward from some 
sure centre. Perfectly screened, unknowing and un- 
known, she went about within the charmed world of 
her inheritance. It was difficult to imagine what 
work she might be doing, always here, and always 
moving about as if unseeing and unseen. Round 
about her serenity any kind of life could group, 
leaving it, as the foggy grime and the dusty swelter 


of London left her, unsullied and untouched. But 
for the present she was here, as if she moved, 
emerging from a spacious many-windowed sun- 
light flooded house whose happy days were in her 
quiet hands, in clear light about the spaces of a 
wide garden. Yet she was aware of the world about 
her. It was not a matter of life and death to her 
that she should be free to wander here in solitude. 
For those women she would have a quiet unarmed 
confronting manner, at their service, but holding 
them off without discourtesy, passing on with cup 
unspilled. Nothing but music reached her ears, 
everything she saw melted into a background of 
garden sunlight. 

She was out of sight, drying her hands, lighting 
up the corner of the room where the towels hung. 
... If Mr. Shatov were on her hands, she would 
not be regretting that the afternoon could hold 
no solitary wanderings. She made no calculations ; 
for she could not be robbed. That was strength. 
She was gone. Miriam finished her operations as 
though she remained, drying her hands unhurriedly, 
standing where she had stood, trying to survey the 
unforetellable afternoon with something of her 
sustained tranquillity. 

He would probably be plunging up and down the 

corridor with a growing impatience There 

he was, unconcernedly waiting ; his singing deter- 
mined child's head reared hatless above the dreadful 
overcoat, the clear light of the corridor upon its 
modest thought-moulded dignity . . . distinguished 
.... that was what he was. She felt unworthy, 
helplessly inadequate, coming up the corridor to 


claim him. She was amongst the people passing 
about him before he saw her ; and she caught again 
the look of profound reproachful brooding melan- 
choly seated in his eyes, so strangely contradicting 
his whole happy look of a child standing at a 
party, gazing, everything pouring into its wide eyes ; 
dancing and singing within itself, unconscious of its 
motionless body. 

" Here we are," she said avertedly as he came 
eagerly forward. 

" Let us quickly to this official " he urged in his 
indoor voice. 

" All right ; this way." He hurried along at her 
side, beard forward, his yellow boots plunging in 
long rapid strides beneath his voluminously floating 

She resented the librarian's official manner ; the 
appearance of the visitor, the little card he 
promptly produced, should have been enough. 
Stud. Schtudent, how much more expressive than 
stewdent .... to be able to go about the world 

for years, so-and-so, stud all doors open 

and committed to nothing. She asserted herself by 
making suggestions in French. Mr. Shatov 
responded politely, also in French, and she felt the 
absurdity of her eager interference, holding him a 
prisoner, hiding his studious command of English, 
in order to flourish forth her knowledge. " We 
are not afraid even of Russian, if Mr. Shatov 
prefers to use his own tongue," said the librarian. 
Miriam flashed a suspicious glance. He was 
smiling a self-conscious superior English smile. It 
soured into embarrassment under her eye. 


" It is no matter " said Mr. Shatov gently, " you 
shall immediately say me the requisite formules 
which I shall at once write." He stood beauti- 
ful, the gentle unconsciously reproachful prey of 
English people unable to resist their desire to be 
effective. They stood conquered, competing in 
silent appreciation, as he bent writing his way into 
their forgotten library. 

" Now I am pairfectly happy " he said as he 
passed through the swing doors of the reading- 
room. His head was up radiantly singing, he was 
rushing trustfully forward, looking at nothing, 
carrying her on, close at his side, till they reached 
the barrier of the outmost catalogue desk. He 
pulled up facing her, with wide wild eyes looking 
at nothing. " We shall at once take Anakamyinna 
in English " he shouted in an enthusiastic whisper. 

" We must choose seats before we get books," 
murmured Miriam. There was plenty to do and 
explain ; the revelation of her meagre attack on 
the riches of the library need not yet come. Were 
they to read together ? Had he reached his goal 
" midst all those Hteratures " to spend his time in 
showing her Tolstoy ? He followed her absently 
about as she filled in the time while they waited for 
their book, by showing all she knew of the routine 
of the library. " There shall of course " he said in 
a gruff explanatory tone, arresting her near the 
entrance to the central enclosure, " be a quite 
exhaustive system of catalogue, but I find there is 
too m\xch. formalities ; with all these little baskets." 
" Ssh," begged Miriam leading him away. She 
drifted to the bookshelves, showing him the one 

70 DEADLOCK '~^ 

shelf she knew on the south side ; there was a 
reader on a ladder at the very shelf. " Carlyle's 
French Revolution is up there " she said confidently. 
" Na, na," he growled reproachfully, " this is a 
most purely unreliable fictional history, a tour de 
force from special individual prejudices. You 
should take rather Thiers." She piloted him across 
to her shelf on the north side to point out the 
Revue de deux Mondes and the North American 
Review. He paused, searching along the shelves. 
^''Ah. Here is books." He drew out and flung open 
a heavy beautifully printed volume with wide 
margins on the pages ; she would show him the 
clever little folding arrangements to hold heavy 
volumes ; " You do not know these ? " he demanded 
of her silence ; " ah that is a great pity ; it is the 
complete discours de I'Academie fran^aise ; you 
shall immediately read them ; ah, they are the 
most ferject modcles." She glanced at the open page 
beginning " Messieurs ! Le sentiment de ficrte 
avcc laquclle je vous " ; it was a voice ; exactly 
like the voice of Mr. Shatov. He stood with the 
heavy open volume, insisting in his dreadfully 
audible whisper on wonderful French names pre- 
fixed to the titles of addresses, fascinating subjects, 
one of them Mr. Gladstone I He looked French as he 
spoke ; a brilliantly polished Frenchman. Why 
had he not gone to France ? He was German too, 
with a German education and yet with some 
impatiently unexplained understanding and con- 
tempt — for Germany. Why was he drawn towards 
England ? That was the mysterious thing. What 
was the secret of the reverence in this man towards 


England and the English ? He was not an anarchist. 
There he stood, Russian, come from all that far- 
away beauty, with German and French culture in 
his mind, longingly to England, coming to Tansley 
Street ; unconsciously bringing her her share in his 
longed-for arrival and its fulfilments. She watched 
as he talked, marvelling at the undeserved wealth 
offered to her in the little figure discoursing so 
eagerly over the cumbrous volume, and at this 
moment the strange Russian book was probably 
waiting for them. 

It was a big thick book. Miriam sat down 
before it. The lights had come on. The book lay 
in a pool of sharp yellow light ; Tolstoy, surrounded 
by a waiting gloom ; the secret of Tolstoy standing 
at her side, rapidly taking off his overcoat. He drew 
up the chair from the next place and sat close, 
flattening out the book at the first chapter and 
beginning to read at once, bent low over the book. 
She bent too, stretching her hands out beyond her 
knees to make herself narrow, and fastening on 
the title. Her anticipations fell dead. It was the 

name of a woman Anna ; of all names. 

Karenine. The story of a woman told by a man 
with a man's ideas about people. But Anna 
Karenine was not what Tolstoy had written. 
Behind the ugly feebleness of the substituted word 
was something quite difterent, strong and beautiful ; 
a whole legend in itself. Why had the translator 
altered the surname ? Anna Kar^yninna was a line 
of Russian poetry. His word was nothing, neither 
English nor French, and sounded like a face- 
cream. She scanned sceptically up and down the 


pages of English words, chilled by the fear of 
detecting the trail of the translator. 

Mr. Shatov read steadily, breathing his enthusiasm 
in gusts, pausing as each fresh name appeared, to 
pronounce it in Russian and to explain the three 
names belonging to each character. They were all 
expressive ; easy to remember because of their 
expressiveness. The three-fold name, giving each 
character three faces, each turned towards a different 
part of his world, was fascinating Con- 
versation began almost at once and kept breaking 
out ; strange abrupt conversation different to 
any she had read elsewhere. . . . What was it ? 
She wanted to hold the pages and find out ; but 
Mr. Shatov read on and on, steadily turning the 
leaves. She skipped, fastening upon the patches 
of dialogue on her side of the open page, reading 
them backwards and forwards, glancing at the solid 
intervening portions to snatch an idea of the back- 
ground. What was the mysterious difference ? 
Why did she feel she could hear the tone of the 
voices and the pauses between the talk ; the curious 
feeling of things moving and changing in the air 
that is always there in all conversations ? Her 
excitement grew, drawing her upright to stare her 
question into the gloom beyond the lamp. 

" Well ? " demanded Mr. Shatov. 

" It's fascinating." 

" What have I told you ? That is Tolstoy," he 
said proudly ; " but this is a most vile translation. 
All these nu and da. Why not simply well and yes ; 
and boszhe moi is quite simply, my God. But this 
preliminary part is not so interesting as later. 


There is in this book the self-history of Tolstoy. He 
is Layvin, and Kitty is the Countess Tolstoy. 
That is all most wonderful. When we see her in the 
early morning ; and the picture of this wedding. 
There is only Tolstoy for those marvellous touches. 
I shall show you." 

" Why does he call it Anna Karaynina " asked 
Miriam anxiously. 

" Certainly. It is a most masterly study of a 
certain type of woman." 

The fascination of the book still flickered brightly ; 
but far away, retreated into the lonely incom- 
municable distance of her mind. It seemed always 
to be useless and dangerous to talk about books. 

They were always about something else If 

she had not asked she would have read the book 
without finding out it was a masterly study of Anna. 
Why must a book be a masterly study of some 
single thing ? Everybody wisely raving about 
it ... . But if one never found out what a book 
was a masterly study of, it meant being ignorant 
of things everyone knew and agreed about ; a 
kind of hopeless personal ignorance and unin- 
telligence ; reading whole books through and 
through, and only finding out what they were about 
by accident, when people happened to talk about 
them, and even then, reading them again, and 
finding principally quite other things, which stayed, 
after one had forgotten what people had explained. 

" I see " she said intelligently. The readers on 
either side were glancing angrily. Miriam guiltily 
recalled her own anger with people who sat together 
murmuring and hissing. But it felt so different 


when you were one of the people. The next time 
she felt angry in this way she would realise how 
interested the talkers were, and try to forget them. 
Still it was wrong. " We must not talk " she 
breathed. He glanced about and returned to his 
shuffling of pages. 

" Heere it is " he exclaimed in a guttural whisper 
far more distinct than his mutterings ; "I shall 
show you this wonderful passage." 

" Ssh, yes," murmured Miriam firmly, peering 
at the indicated phrase. The large warm gloom 
of the library, with its green-capped pools of happy 
light, was stricken into desolation as she read. She 
swung back to her world of English books and 
glanced for comfort at the forms of Englishmen 
seated in various attitudes of reading about the far 
edges of her circle of vision. But the passage was 
inexorably there ; poison dropping from the book 
into the world ; foreign poison, but translated and 
therefore read by at least some Englishmen. The 
sense of being in arms against an onslaught already 
achieved, filled her with despair. The enemy was 
far away, inaccessibly gone forward spreading more 
poison. She turned furiously on Mr. Shatov. She 
could not disprove the lie ; but at least he should 
not sit there near her, holding it unconcerned. 

" I can't see anything wonderful. It isn't true," 
she said. 

" Ah that is very English " beamed Mr. Shatov. 

" It is. Any English person would know that 
it is not true." 

Mr. Shatov gurgled his laughter. " Ah that is 
very naive." 

D;E A D L O C K 75 

" It may be. That doesn't make any difference." 

" It makes the difference that you are inex- 
perienced," he growled gently. That was true. 
She had no experience. She only knezu it was not 
true. Perhaps it was true. Then Hfe grew bleak 

again It was not true. But it was true for 

men. Skimmed off the surface, which was all they 
could see, and set up neatly in forcible quotable 
words. The rest could not be shown in these 
clever, neat phrases. 

" But I find the air here is most-evil. Let us 
rather go have tea." 

Astonishment melted into her pride in leading 
him down through the great hall and along the 
beloved corridor of her solitary pacings, out into 
gigantic granite smile of the Egyptian gallery, 
to the always sudden door of the refreshment 

" If I got locked into the Museum at night I 
should stay in this gallery," she said unable to bear 
companionship in her sanctuary without extorting 
some recognition of its never-failing quality. 

" It is certainly impressive, in a crude way," 
admitted Mr. Shatov. 

" They are so absolutely peaceful " said Miriam 
struggling on behalf of her friends with her fury 
at this extraordinary judgment. It had not 
before occurred to her that they were peaceful 
and that was not enough. She gazed down the 
vista to discover the nature of the spell they cast. 
" You can see them in clear light in the desert " 
she exclaimed in a moment. The charm grew as 
she spoke. She looked forward to being alone with 


them again in the Hght of this discovery. The 
chill of Mr. Shatov's indifferent response to her 
explanation was buried in her private acknowledg- 
ment that it was he who had forced her to discover 
something of the reason of her enchantment. He 
forced her to think. She reflected that solitude 
was too easy. It was necessary for certainties. 
Nothing could be known except in solitude. But 
the struggle to communicate certainties gave them 
new life ; even if the explanation were only a small 

piece of the truth " Excuse m.e I leave you 

a moment " he said, turning off through the maze of 
little figures near the door. The extraordinary new 
thing was that she could think, untroubled, in his 
company. She gratefully blessed his disappearing 

" I'm going to have toast and jam " she announced 
expansively when the waitress appeared. 

" Bring me just a large pot of tea and some kind 
of sweetmeat " said Mr. Shatov reproachfully. 

" Pastries " murmured Miriam. 

" What is 'pastries " he asked mournfully. 

" Patisseries " beamed Miriam. 

" Ah no " he explained patiently, " it is not that 
at all ; I will have simply some small things in 

" No pastries ; cake," said the waitress, watching 
herself in the mirror. 

" Ach bring me just tea^'' bellowed Mr. Shatov. 

Several people looked round, but he did not 
appear to notice them and sat hunched, his overcoat 
coming up behind beyond his collar, his arms 
thrust out over the table, ending in grubby clasped 


hands. In a moment he was talking. Miriam sat 
taking in the change in the feeling of the familiar 
place under the influence of his unconcerned 
presence. There were the usual strangers strayed in 
from the galleries, little parties, sitting exposed at 
the central tables near the door ; not quite at home, 
their eyes still filled with the puzzled preoccupation 
with which they had wandered and gazed, the 
relief of their customary conversation held back 
until they should have paid, out of their weary 
bewilderment some tribute of suitable comment ; 
looking about the room, watching in separate 
uneasiness for material to carry them past the 
insoluble problem. They were unchanged. But 
the readers stood out anew ; the world they had 
made for her was broken up. Those who came 
in twos and sat at the more sequestered tables, 
maddening her with endless conversations at cross 
purposes from unconsidered assumptions, were 
defeated. Their voices were covered by Mr. 
Shatov's fluent monologue, and though her own 
voice, sounding startlingly in the room, seemed at 
once only an exclamatory unpractised reproduction 
of these accustomed voices, changing already their 
aspect and making her judgment of them rock 
insecurely in her mind, it was threaded into his 
unconcerned reality and would presently be real. 

But the solitary readers, sitting in corners over 
books, or perched, thoughtfully munching and 
sipping, with their backs to the room, on the high 
stools at the refreshment counter, and presently 
getting down to escape untouched and free, through 
the swing door, their unlifted eyes recovering 


already, through its long glass panels, the living 
dream of the hugely moving galleries, reproached her 
for her lost state. 

Mr. Shatov's dreaming face woke to prevent her 
adding milk to his tea, and settled again, dwelling 
with his far off theme. She began listening in 
detail to screen her base interest in her extravagant 
fare. " It is a remarkable fact " he was saying and 
she looked up, astonished at the sudden indistinct- 
ness of his voice. His eyes met hers severely, above 
the rim of his cup, " but of almost universal 
application," he proceeded thickly, and paused to 
produce between his lips a saturated lump of 
sugar. She stared, horrified. Very gravely, un- 
attained by her disgust, he drew in his tea in neat 
noiseless sips till the sugar disappeared .... 
when he deftly extracted another lump from the 
basin and went on with his story. 

The series of lumps, passing one by one without 
accident through their shocking task, softened in 
some remarkable way the history of Tourgainyeff 
and Madame Viardot. The protest that struggled 
in her to rise and express itself was held in check by 
his peculiar serenity. The frequent filling of his 
cup and the selection of his long series of lumps 
brought no break in his concentration. . . . Above 
the propped elbows and the cup held always at the 
level of his lips, his talking face was turned to hers. 
Expressions moved untroubled through his eyes. 

When they left the tea-room he plunged rapidly 
along as if unaware of his surroundings. The 
whole Museum was there, unexplored, and this 
was his first visit. He assented indifferently to her 


suggestion that they should just look at the Elgin 
Marbles, and stood unmoved before the groups, 
presently saying with some impatience that here, 
too, the air was oppressive and he would like to go 
into the freshness. 

Out in the street he walked quickly along brumming 
to himself. She felt they had been long acquainted ; 
the afternoon had abolished embarrassments, but 
he was a stranger. She had nothing to say to him ; 
perhaps there would be no more communications. 
She looked forward with uneasiness to the evening's 
lesson. They were both tired ; it would be an 
irretrievable failure to try to extend their afternoon's 
achievement ; and she would have to pass the inter- 
vening time alone with her growing incapability, 
while he recovered his tone at the dinner-table. 
The thought of him there, socially alive while she 
froze in her room, was intolerable. She too would 
go in to dinner . . . their present association was 
too painful to part upon. She bent their steps 
cheerfully in the direction of home. Excuse me, 
he said suddenly, I will take here fruits, and he 
disappeared into a greengrocer's shop emerging 
presently munching from an open bag of 

Supposing books had no names Villette 

had meant nothing for years ; a magic name until 

somebody said it was Brussels she was 

impressed by St. Paul's dome in the morning 
because it was St. Paul's. That spoilt the part 
about the journey ; waking you up with a start 
like the end of a dream. St. Paul's sticking out 


through the text ; someone suddenly introduced 
to you at a gathering, standing in front of you, 
blocking out the general sense of things ; until you 
began to dance, when it came back until you stopped, 
when the person became a person again, with a 
name, and special things had to be said. St. Paul's 
could not be got into the general sense of the 
journey ; it was a quotation from another world ; 
a smaller world than Lucy Snowe and her journey. 
Yet it would be wonderful to wake up at a little 
inn in the city and suddenly see St. Paul's for the 
first time. Perhaps it was one of those journey 
moments of suddenly seeing something celebrated, 
and missing the impression through fear of not 
being impressed enough ; and trying to impress 
your impression by telling of the thing by name 

everybody had that difficulty. The 

vague shimmer of gas-lit people round the table ail 
felt things without being able to express them 

she glowed towards the assembled 

group ; towards everyone in the world. For a 
moment she looked about in detail, wanting to 
communicate her thought and share a moment of 
general agreement. Everybody was talking, looking 
spruce and neat and finished, in the transforming 
gaslight. Each one something that would never 
be expressed, all thinking they were expressing 
things and not knowing the lonely look visible 
behind the eyes they turned upon the world, of 
their actual selves as they were when they were 
alone. But they were all saying things they wanted 

to say they did express themselves, 

in relation to each other ; they grew in knowledge 


of each other, in approval or disapproval, tested 
each other and knew, behind their strange im- 
movable positive conversations about things that 
were all matters of opinion perpetually shifting, 
in a marvellous way each others' characters. They 
also knew after the first pleasant moment of meeting 
eyes and sounding voices when one tried to talk 
in their way, that one was playing them false. The 
glow could live for awhile when one had not met 
them for some time ; but before the end of the 
meeting one was again condemned, living in heavy 
silence, whilst one's mind whirled with the sense of 
their clear visions and the tantalising inclination 
to take, for life, the mould of one or other point of 

How obliviously they all talked on. She thanked 
them. With their talk flowing across the table, 
giving the central golden glow of light a feeling of 
permanence, her failures in life, strident about the 
room, were visible and audible only to herself. If 
she could remain silent, they would die down, 
and the stream of her unworthy life would merge, 
before he appeared, into a semblance of oneness 

with these other lives She caught the 

dark Russian eyes of Mr. Rodkin sitting opposite. 
He smiled through his glasses, his dry, sweet, 
large-eyed smile, his head turned listening to his 
neighbour. She beamed her response, relieved, as 
i£ they had had a long satisfactory conversation. 
He would have understood ... in spite of his 
commercial city-life. He accepted everybody. He 
was the central kindliness of the room. No wonder 
Mrs. Bailey was so fond of him and leant upon his 


presence, in spite of his yawning hatred of Sundays. 
He was ilhiminated ; she had his secret at last given 

her by Mr. Shatov. Russian kindhness 

Russians understand silence and are not afraid of 
it ? Kindly silence comes out of their speech, and 
lies behind it, leaving things the same whatever has 
been said ? This would be truer of him than of 

Mr. Shatov moy word. Shatov at 

the station with his father. You never saw such a 
thing. Talking to the old boy as if he was a porter ; 

snapping his head off whenever he spoke 

She pulled up sharply. If she thought of him, the 
fact that she was only passing the time would become 

visible what was that just now, opening ; 

about silence ? 

There is no need to go out into the world. 
Everything is there without anything ; the world 
is added. And always whatever happens there is 
everything to return to. The pattern round her 

plate was life, alive, everything what 

was that idea I used to have ? Enough for one 
person in the world would be enough for every- 
body how did it go ? It was so clear, 

while the voice corneted out spoiling the sunshine, 

"oh yes we were very jolly; very jolly 

party, talking all the time. Miss Hood's song 
sounding out at intervals. Halcyon weather." 

" Do you ever feel how much there is 

everywhere ? " " Nachah's abundance ? " " No. 
I don't mean that. I mean that nearly everything is 
wasted. Not things, like soap ; but the meanings 
of things. If there is enough for one person there 


is enough for everybody." " You mean that one 
happy man makes the whole universe glad ? " " He 
does. But I don't mean that. I mean — every- 
thing is wasted all the time, \\'hile people are 
looking about and arranging for more things." 
" You would like to simplify life ? You feel man 
needs but little here below ? " " He doesn't need 
anything. People go on from everything as if it 
were nothing and never seem to know there is 
anything." " But isn't it just the stimulus of his 
needs that keeps him going ? " " Why need he keep 
going ? that is just my point." " Je ne vols pas 
la necessite, you would say with Voltaire ? " " The 
necessity of living ? Then why didn't he hang 
himself." " I suppose because he taught in song 

what he learned in sorrow " How many 

people knew that Maeterlinck had explained in 
words what life was like inside ? Seek ye first the 
Kingdom .... the test is if people want you at 
their death-beds. None of these people would want 
me at their death-beds. Yet they all ask deliberate 
questions, shattering the universe. Maeterlinck 
would call them innocent questions about the 
weather and the crops, behind which they gently 

greet each other Women always know 

their questions are insincere, a treachery towards 

their silent knowledge 

He must read the chapter on silence and then the 
piece about the old man by his lamp. That would 

make everything clear where was he all 

this time ? Dinner was nearly over. Perhaps he 
was going out. She contemplated her blank evening. 
His voice sounded in the hall. How inconvenient 


for people with very long eyelashes to have to wear 
glasses she thought, engrossing herself in a sudden 
vision of her neighbour's profile. He was coming 
through the hall from seeing somebody out of the 
front door. If she could be talking to someone 
she would feel less huge. She tried to catch Mr. 
Rodkin's eye to ask him if he had read Tolstoy. 
Mr. Shatov had come in, bowing his deep-voiced 
greeting, and begun talking to Mr. Rodkin before he 
was in his chair, as if they were in the middle of a 
conversation. Mr. Rodkin answered at once without 
looking at him, and they went on in abrupt sentences 
one against the other, the sentences growing longer 
as they talked. 

Sissie did not hear the remark about the weather 
because she too was attending to the rapid Russian 
sentences. She was engrossed in them, her pale 
blue eyes speculative and serene. Miriam watched 
in swift glances. The brilliant colour that Mr. 
Shatov had seemed to distribute when he sat down, 
had shrunk to himself. He sat there warm and 
rich, with easy movements and easily moving 
thoughts, his mind far away, his features animated 
under his raised carelessly singing eye-brows, by his 
irascible comments on Mr. Rodkin's rapped-out 
statements. The room grew cold, every object 
stiff with lifeless memory, as they sat talking Mr. 
Rodkin's business. Everyone sitting round the 
table was clean-cut, eaten into by the raw edge of 
the winter night, gathered for a moment in the 
passing gas-lit warmth, to separate presently and 

face an everlastingly renewed nothingness 

The charm of the Russian words, the fascination of 


grasping the gist of the theme broke in vain against 
the prevaiHng chill. If the two should turn away 
from each other and bend their glowing faces, their 
strangely secure foreign independence towards the 
general bleakness, its dreadful qualities would swell 
to a more active torment, all meanings lost in empty 
voices uttering words that no one would watch or 
explain. There was a lull. Their conversation was 
changing. Mr. Shatov had sat back in his chair 
with a Russian word that hung in the air and spread 
music. His brows had come down and he was 
glancing thoughtfully about the table. She met 
Mr. Rodkin's eyes and smiled and turned again to 
Sissie with her remark about the weather. Sissie's 
face came round surprised. She disagreed, making 
a perfect comment on the change that left Miriam 
marvelling at her steady ease of mind. She agreed 
in an enthusiastic paraphrase, her mind busy on the 
hidden source of her random emphasis. It could 
rest, everything could rest for awhile, for a little 

time to come, for some weeks perhaps But 

he would bring all those books ; with special mean- 
ings in them that every one seemed to understand 
and agree about ; real at the beginning and then 
going off into things and never coming back. Why 
could she not understand them ? Finding things 
without following the story was like being inter- 
ested in a lesson without mastering what you were 
supposed to master and not knowing anything 
about it afterwards that you could pass on or 
explain. Yet there was something, or why did 
school which had left no knowledge and no 
facts seem so alive ? Why did everything seem 


alive in a way it was impossible to explain ? Perhaps 
part of the wrong of being a lazy idiot was being 
happy in a way no one else seemed to be happy. 

If one was an idiot, people like Mr. Shatov would 
not. . . . He looked straight across, a swift obser- 
vant glance. She turned once more towards Sissie 
making herself smilingly one with the conversation 
that was going on between her and her further 
neighbour and listened eagerly across the table ; 
" Gracieuse " Mr. Shatov was saying at the end of a 
sentence, dropping from objection to restatement. 
Mr. Rodkin had asked him if he did not think her 
pretty. That would be his word. He would have 
no other word. Mr. Shatov had looked considering 
the matter for the first time. " Gracieuse^ Surely 
that was the very last thing she could be. But he 
thought it. 

Grace was a quality, not an appearance. Strong- 
minded and plain. That, she knew, was the secret 
verdict of women ; or, doesn't know how to make 
the best of herself. She pondered, seeking in vain 
for any source of grace. Grace was delicacy, refine- 
ment, little willowy cattish movements of the head, 
the inner mind fixed always on the proprieties, 

making all the improprieties visible, 

streaming from the back-view of their unconscious 

A gracieuse effect means always deliberate behav- 
ing. Madame de Something. But people who keep 
it up can never let thoughts take their course. They 
must behave to their thoughts as they behave to 
people. When they are by themselves they can 
only go on mincing quietly, waiting for their next 


public appearance. When they are not talking they 
wait in an attitude, as if they were talking ; ready 
to behave. Always on guard. Perhaps that was 
what Mr. Wilson meant when he said it was the 
business of women to be the custodians of manners. 

Their " sense of good form, and their 

critical and selective faculties." Then he had no 

right to be contemptuous of them Donald 

Braden . . . lying across the dinner table ... a 
drink sodden hull, swearing that he would never 
again go to a dinner-party where there were no 

ladies " " Good talk and particularly 

good stories are not expected of women, at dinner 
tables. It's their business to steer the conversation 
and head it off if it gets out of bounds." .... To 
simper and watch, while the men were free to be 
themselves, and then step in if they went beyond 
bounds. In other words to head the men off if they 
talked " improperly " ; thus showing their know- 
ledge of improprieties . . . . " tactfully " ignor- 
ing them and leading on to something else with a 
gracious pose. Those were the moments when the 

improprieties streamed from their hair 

Somebody saying ssh, superior people talking 
together, modern fricnds-in-council, a week end in 
a beautiful house, subjects on the menu, are you high 
church or low church, the gleam of a woman's body 

through water. " Ssh." Why P 

But her impression to himself was good. A 
French impression ; that was the extraordinary 
thing. Without any consideration that was the 
impression she had made. Perhaps everyone had a 
sort of style, and people who liked you could see it. 


The style of one's family would show, to strangers 
as an unknown strange outside effect. Everyone 
had an effect. . . . She had an effect^ a stamp, 
independent of anything she thought or felt. It 
ought to give one confidence. Because there would 
certainly be some people who would not dislike it. 
But perhaps he had not observed her at all until 
that moment and had been misled by her assump- 
tion of animation. 

If I tried to be gracious, I could never keep it up, 
because I always forget that I am visible. She 
called in her eyes, which must have been staring all 
the time blankly about the table, so many impres- 
sions had she gathered of the various groups, 
animated now in their unconscious relief at the 
approaching end of the long sitting. Here again 
was one of those moments of being conscious of the 
strange fact of her incurable illusion, and realising 
its effects in the past and the effects it must always 
have if she did not get away from it. Nearly 
always she must appear both imbecile and rude, 
staring, probably with her mouth half open, lost. 
Well-brought-up children were trained out of it. No 
one had dared to try and train her for long. They 
had been frightened, or offended, by her scorn of 
their brisk cheerful pose of polite interest in the 
surface of eyerything that was said. It was not 
worth doing. Polite society was not worth having. 
Every time one tried for awhile, holding oneself in, 
thinking of oneself sitting there as others were 
sitting, consciousness came to an end. It meant 
having opinions. Taking sides. It presently 
narrowed life down to a restive discomfort 


Jan went about the streets thinking she was 
invisible ..." and then quite suddenly I saw 
myself in a shop mirror. My dear. I got straight 
into an omnibus and went home. I could not stand 
the sight of my hips." But with people, in a room, 
she never forgot she was there. 

The sight of Mr. Shatov waiting for her under 
the gas in the drawing-room gathered all her 
thoughts together, struggling for simultaneous 
expression. She came slowly across the room, with 
eyes downcast to avoid the dimly-lit corner where 
he stood, and sought rapidly amongst the competing 
t'hreads of thought for some fragment that could be 
shaped into speech before he should make the com- 
munication she had seen waiting in his face. The 
sympathetic form must listen and make some 
understanding response. She felt herself stiffening 
in angry refusal to face the banishment of her 
tangled mass of thought by some calmly oblivious 
statement, beginning nowhere and leading them on 
into baseless discussion, impeded on her part by the 
pain of unstated vanishing things. They began 
speaking together and he halted before her formal 
harsh- voiced words. 

" There is always a bad light on Saturday evenings 
because nearly every one goes out " she said and 
looked her demand for his recognition of the 
undischarged burden of her mind impatiently about 
the room. 

" I had not observed this " he said gently, " but 
now I see the light is indeed very bad." She watched 
him as he spoke, waiting, counting each syllable. He 
paused, gravely consulting her face ; she made no 


effort to withhold the wave of anger flowing out 
over the words that stood mocking her on the 
desolate air, a bridge, carrying them up over the 
stream of her mind and forward, leaving her com- 
munications behind for ever. She waited, watching 
cynically for whatever he might offer to her dumb- 
ness, wondering whether it surprised him, rebuked 
as she regarded him, by his unchanged gentle 

" Oh please " he said hurriedly, his downcast 
inturned smile suddenly irradiating his forehead, 
bringing down the eyebrows that must have gone 
singing thoughtfully up as he spoke about the light 
... a request of some kind ; one of his extra- 
ordinary unashamed demands. ..." You must 
help me. I must immediately pawn my watch. 
Where is a pawning shop ? " 

Miriam stared her consternation. 

" Ah, no " he said, his features working with 
embarrassment " it is not for myself. It is my 
friend, the Polish Doctor, who was only now here," 
Miriam gazed, plunging on through relief into a 
chaos of bewildered admiration. 

" But you hardly know him " she exclaimed, 
sitting down for more leisurely contemplation. 

" That is not the point " he said seriously, taking 
the chair on the other side of the little table. " Poor 
fellow, he is not long in London, and has almost no 
friends. He is working in abstruse researchings, 
needing much spendings on materials, and is 
threatened by his landlady to leave his apart- 

" Did he tell you this ? " said Miriam sceptically 


recalling the Polish head, its smooth cold perfect 
beauty and indifference. 

" Most certainly he told me. He must immedi- 
ately have ten pounds." 

" Perhaps you would not get so much," persisted 
Miriam. "And suppose he does not pay it 

" You are mistaken. The watch, with the chain, 
is worth more than the double this sum." His face 
expressed a grave simple finality. 

" But it is a shame^'' she cried, jealously eyeing 
the decoration that seemed now to have been an 
essential part of their many meetings. Without 
this mark of opulence, he would not be quite the 
same. . . 

" Why a shame ? " demanded Mr. Shatov, with 
his little abrupt snorting chuckle. " I shall again 
have my watch when my father shall send me the 
next portion of my allowance." He was not count- 
ing on the return of the money ! Next month, 
with his allowance, he would have the watch and 

forget the incident Wealth made life safe 

for him. People could be people to him ; even 
strangers ; not threats or problems. But even a 
wealthy Englishman would not calmly give ten 
pounds to a disreputable stranger ... he would 
suspect him even if he were not disreputable. It 
might he true that the Pole was in honest difficulties. 
But it was impossible to imagine him really working 
at anything. Mr. Shatov did not feel this at 

" I'm afraid I don't know any pawn shops " she 
said, shrinking even from the pronunciation of the 


word. She scanned her London. They had 
ahvays been there . . . but she had never noticed 
or thought of them ..." I don't remember ever 
having seen one ; but I know you are supposed to 
recognise them," here was strange useful know- 
ledge, something picturesque floating in from 
somewhere ..." by three gold balls hanging 
outside ... I have seen one " they were talking 
now, the Polish Doctor was fading away. " Yes . . . 
on a bus " his wide child's eyes were set impersonally 
on what she saw, " somewhere down by Ludgate 

" I will at once go there " he said sitting leisurely 
back with dreaming eyes and his hands thrust into 
his pockets. 

" Oh no " she cried, thrusting off the disaster, 
" it would be closed.''^ 

" That is bad " he reflected, " Ach, no matter. 
I will write to him that I come on Monday." 
" He would not get your letter until Monday." 
" That is true. I did not think of this." 
There must be pawn shops quite near ; in the 
Tottenham Court Road. They would still be open. 
Not to suggest this would be to be responsible if 
anything happened to the Pole. . . Thrusting 
down through the numbed mass of her forgotten 
thoughts to the quick of her nature came the 
realisation that she was being tested and found 
wanting . . . another of those moments had come 

round She glanced into the open abyss at 

her own form staring up from its depths, and 
through her brain flew, in clear record, decisive 
moments of the past ; her self, clearly visible, 


clothed as she had been clothed, her poise and 
bearing as she had flinched and fled. Here she was, 
unchanged, not caring what happened to the man, 
so long as her evening was not disturbed . . . she 
was a murderess. This was the hidden truth of her 
life. Above it her false face turned from thing to 
thing, happy and forgetful for years, until a moment 
came again to show her that she could face and let 
slip the risk of anything to anyone, anywhere, rather 
than the pain of renouncing personal realisation. 
Already she was moving away. A second sugges- 
tion was in her mind and she was not going to make 
it. She glanced enviously at the unconscious kind- 
liness lolling in the opposite chair. It was clear to 
its depths ; unburdened by spectres of remembered 

cruelty But there was also something 

else that was different .... easy circumstances ; 
the certainty, from the beginning, of self-realisa- 

" Perhaps someone in the house could tell you." 
Oh stupidity ; blurting out anything to hide behind 
the sound of voices. 

" Possibly. But it is a delicate matter. I could 
not for instance mention this matter to Mrs. 

" Do you like him ? Didn't you find him 
amongst those dreadful men looking like monkeys ? " 

" At this Vienna cafe. Ah indeed it is dreadful 
there upstairs." 

" He is very handsome." 

" The Poles are perhaps the most beautiful of 
European peoples. They have also immense 
courage "... unsuspicious thoughtfully talking 


face, lifting her up and out again into light and 

air " But the Pole is undoubtedly the most 

treacherous fellow in Europe." Grave live eyes 
flashed across at her, easily, moulding the lounging 
form into shapeliness. " He is at the same time of 
the most distinguished mentality." Why should 
anyone help a distinguished mentality to go on 
being treacherous ? " And in particular is this 
true of the Polish Jew. There are in all European 
universities amongst the very most distinguished 
professors and students very many Polish Jews." 
Le Juif Polonais . . . The Bells. It was strange to 
think of Polish Jews going on in modern everyday 

life But if Poles were so evil . . . That 

was Dr. Veslovsky's expression. Cold evil. 

" There was an awful thing last week in Woburn 

" Yes ? " 

" Mrs. Bailey told me about it. There was a 
girl who owed her landlady twenty- five shillings. 
She threw herself out of her bedroom window on 
the top floor because her landlady spoke to her 
about it." 

" That is terrible " whispered Mr. Shatov. His 
eyes were dark with pain ; his face shrunk as if with 
cold. " That could never happen in Russia " he 
said reproachfully. 

" Why not ? " 

" No. In Russia such a thing is impossible. And 
in student circles most particularly. This young 
girl living in this neighbourhood without salary' was 
probably some sort of student." 

" Why ? She might have been a governess out of 


work or a poor clerk. Besides I thought people were 
always committing suicide in Russia." 

" That is of course a gross exaggeration. There 
are certainly suicides in Russia as everywhere. But 
in Russia suicide, which does certainly occur in 
abnormally high frequency amongst the young 
intelligentsia, arises from trouble of spirit. They 
are psychopath. There comes some spiritual crisis 
and — phwtt — ... It is characteristic of the 
educated Slav mind to lose itself in face of abstrac- 
tive insolubilities. But for need of twenty-five 
shillings. I find in this something peculiarly 
horrible. In midst of your English civilisation it 
is pure-barbaric." 

" There has not been any civilisation in the world 
yet. We are still all living in caves." The quota- 
tion sounded less convincing than at Wimpole 

" That is too superficial. Pardon me, but it 
implies a too slight knowledge of what has been in 
the past and what still persists in various develop- 
mental stages." Miriam felt about among the 
statements which occurred to her in rapid succes- 
sion, all contradicting each other. Yet somebody 

in the world believed each one of them 

Mr. Shatov was gravely waiting, as if for her agree- 
ment with what he had just said. Far away below 
her clashing thoughts was something she wanted to 
express, something he did not know, and that yet 
she felt he might be able to shape for her if only 
she could present it. But between her and this 
reality was the embarrassment of a mind that could 
produce nothing but quotations. She had no mind 


of her own. It seemed to be there when she was 
alone ; only because there was no need to express 
anything. In speech she could produce only things 
other people had said and with which she did not 
agree. None of them expressed the underlying 

thing Why had she not brought down 


Mr. Shatov's quiet waiting had ended in a flow 
of eager talk. She turned unwillingly. Even he 
could go on, leaving things unfinished, talking 

about something else But his mind was 

steady. The things that were there would not drop 
away. She would be able to consider them . . . 
watching the effect of the light of other minds upon 
the things that floated in her own mind ; so dread- 
fully few now that he was beginning to look at 
them ; and all ending with the images of people 
who had said^them, or the bindings of books where 

she had found them set down yet she 

felt familiar with all points of view. Every 
generalisation gave her the clue to the speaker's 
mind .... wanting to hear no more, only to 
criticize what was said by pointing out, whether 
she agreed with it or no, the opposite point of 

She smiled encouragingly towards his talk, 
hurriedly summoning an appearance of attention 
into her absent eyes while she contemplated his 
glowing pallor and the gaze of unconscious wide 
intelligence, shining not only towards her own, but 
also with such undisturbed intentncss upon what he 
was describing. She could think later on, next 
year, when he had gone away leaving her to 


confront her world with a fresh armoury. As long 
as he stayed, he would be there, without effort or 
encouragement from her, filling her spare hours 
with his untired beauty, drawing her along his 
carefully spun English phrases, away from personal 
experiences, into a world going on independently 
of them ; unaware of the many scattered interests 
waiting for her beyond this shabby room, and yet 
making them shine as he talked, newly alight with 
rich superfluous impersonal fascination, no longer 
isolated, but vivid parts of a whole, growing more 
and more intelligible as he carried her further and 
further into a life he saw so distinctly, that he made 
it hers, too quickly for her to keep account of the 
inpouring wealth 

She beamed in spacious self-congratulation and 
plunged into the midst of his theme in holiday mood. 
She was in a theatre, without walls, her known 
world and all her memories spread, fanwise about 
her, all intent on what she saw, changing, retreating 
to their original form, coming forward, changing 
again, obliterated, and in some deep difficult way 
challenged to renewal. The scenes she watched 
opened out one behind the other in clear per- 
spective, the earlier ones remaining visible, drawn 
aside into bright light as further backgrounds 
opened. The momentary sound of her own voice 
in the room encouraging his narrative, made no 
break ; she dropped her remarks at random into 
his parentheses, carefully screening the bright 
centres as they turned one by one into living 

Suddenly she was back withering in the cold 


shabby room before the shock of his breaking off to 
suggest with a swift personal smile that she herself 
should go to Russia. For a moment she stared at 
him. He waited, smiling gently. It did not matter 
that he thought her worthy The con- 
viction that she had already been to Russia, that his 
suggestion was foolish in its recommendation of a 
vast superfluous undertaking, hung like a veil 
between her and the experiences she now passed 
through in imagining herself there. The very 
things in the Russian student circles that had most 
appealed to her, would test and find her out. She 
would be one of those who would be mistrusted for 
not being sufficiently careless about her dress and 
hair. It would not suit her to catch up her hair 
with one hairpin. She would not be strong enough 
to study all day and half the night on bread and tea. 
She was sure she could not associate perpetually with 
men students, even living and sharing rooms with 
them, without the smallest flirtation. If she were 
wealthy like he, she would not so calmly accept 
having all things in common ; poor she would be 
uneasy in dependence on other students. She sat 
judged. There was a quality behind all the scenes, 
something in the Russians that she did not possess. 

Ir was the thing that made him what he was 

It answered to a call that was being made all the 
time to everyone, everywhere. Yet why did so 
many of them drink P 

" Well ? " said Mr. Shatov. The light was going 
down. ^^ What is this?" he asked staring up im- 
patiently at the lessening flame. " Ah it is simply 
stufid.^'' He hurried away and Miriam heard his 


voice shouting down to Mrs. Bailey from the 
staircase as he went, and presently in polite loud- 
toned remonstrance from the top of the basement 
stairs. The gas went up, higher than it had been 
before. It must be eleven. It was not fair to keep 
the gas going for two people. She must wind up 
the sitting and send him away. 

" What a piece of EngHsh stupidity," he bellowed 
gently, coming back across the room. 

" I suppose she is obliged to do it " said Miriam 
feeling incriminated by her failure to resent the 
proceeding in the past. 

" How obliged P " 

" She has had an awful time. She was left 
penniless in Weymouth." 

" That is bad ; but it is no cause for stupidity.''^ 

" I know. She doesn't understand. She managed 
quite well with lodgers ; she will never make 
boarders pay. It's no use giving her hints. The 
house is full of people who don't pay their bills. 
There are people here who have paid nothing for 
eighteen months. She has even lent them money." 

" Is it possible ? " he said gravely. 

" And the Irish journalist caTCt pay. He is a 

" He is a most distinguished-looking man. Ah 
but she is stupid.'''' 

" She can't see " said Miriam — he was interested ; 
even in these things. She dropped eagerly down 
amongst them. The whole evening and all their 
earlier interchange stood far off, shedding a relieving 
light over the dismal details and waiting to be 
resumed, enriched by this sudden excursion — " that 


when better people come she ought to aher things. 
It isn't that she would think it wrong, like the doctor 
who felt guilty when he bought a carriage to make 
people believe he had patients, though of course 
speculation is wrong " — she felt herself moving 
swiftly along, her best memories with her in the 
cheerful ring of her voice, their quality discernible 
by him, a kind of reply to all he had told her — 
*'' because she believes in keeping up appearances ; 
but she doesn't know how to make people comfort- 
able." She was creating a wrong impression but 
with the right voice. Without Miss Scott's sugges- 
tions, the discomforts would never have occurred 
to her. 

" Ah she is stupid. That is the whole thing." 
He sat forward stretching and contracting his 
hands till the muscles cracked ; his eyes, flashing 
their unconcerned contemptuous judgment, were 
all at once the brilliant misty eyes of a child about 
to be quenched by sudden sleep. 

" TVo," she said resentfully, " she wants good 
people, and when they come she has to make all she 
can out of them. If they stayed she would be able 
to afford to do things better. Of course they 
don't come back or recommend her ; and the house 
is always half empty. Her best plan would be to 
fill it with students at a fixed low figure." Aliss 
Scott again his attention was wander- 
ing. . . " The dead Jlozvers,^^ he was back again, 
" in dirty water in a cracked vase ; Sissic rushing out, 
while breakfast is kept waiting, to buy just enough 
butter for one meal. 

*' Really ? " he giggled. 


" She has been most awfully good to me." 

" Why not ? " he chuckled. 

" Do you think you will go and see your Polish 
friend to-morrow ? " She watched anxiously. 

" Yes " he conceded blinking sleepily at the end 
of a long yawn. " I shall perhaps go." 

" He might be driven to desperation " she 
muttered. Her accomplished evening was trem- 
bling in the balance. Its hours had frittered away 
the horrible stranger's chance. 

" Ah no " said Mr. Shatov with a little laugh of 
sincere amusement, " Veslovski will not do foolish 
things." She rose to her feet on the tide of her 
relief, meeting, as she garnered all the hours of her 
long day and turned with an out-spreading sheaf 
of questions towards the expanses of evening leisure 
so safely at her disposal in the oncrowding to- 
morrows, the rebuke of the brilliantly burning 
midnight gas. 

" But tell me ; how has Mrs. Bailey been so 
good ? " He sat conversationally forward as if it 
were the beginning of the evening. 

" Oh well." She sought about distastefully 
amongst the phrases she had collected in descriptions 
given to her friends, conveying nothing. Mr. 
Shatov knowing the framework, would see the detail 
alive and enhance her own sense of it. She glanced 
over the picture. Any single selection would be 
misleading. There was enough material for days 
of conversation. He was waiting eagerly, not 
impatient after all of personal experiences. Yet 
nothing could be told 

" You see she lets me be amphibious." Her voice 


smote her. Mrs. Bailey's kindliness was in the room. 
She was squandering Mrs. Bailey's gas in an effort 
that was swiftly transforming itself under the 
influence of her desire to present an adequate 
picture of her own separate life. His quickening 
interest drove her on. She turned her eyes from 
the gas and stared at the carpet, her picture broken 
up and vanishing before the pathos of its thread- 
bare faded patterns. 

" I'm neither a lodger nor a boarder," she recited 
hurriedly. " I have all the advantages of a boarder ; 
the use of the whole house. I've had this room and 
the piano to myself for years, on Sunday mornings 
until dinner time, and when there are interesting 
people I can go down to dinner. I do for weeks 
on end sometimes, and it is so convenient to be able 
to have meals on Sundays." 

" It is really a most admirable arrangement," 
he said heartily. 

" And last year I had a bicycle accident. I was 
brought back here with a very showy arm ; in a 
cab. Poor Mrs. Bailey fainted. It was not at all 
serious. But they gave me their best room, the 
one behind this, for weeks and waited upon me 
most beautifully, and mind you they did not expect 
any compensation, they knew I could not afford it." 

" An injury that should disable for so many 
weeks shall not have been a light one." 

" That was the doctor. You see it was Saturday. 
It was more than an hour before they could find 
anyone at all, and then they found a small surgeon 
in Gower Street. He stitched up my arm with 
a rusty darning needle taken from Mrs. Bailey's 


work-basket just as it was. I told him I had some 
carbolic in my room ; but he said Nevorr mind 
that. I'm not one of yn faddists, and bound it all 
up and I came down to dinner. I had just come 
back from the first week of my holiday ; bicycling 
in Buckinghamshire, perfect, I never felt so well 
in my life. I was going to Paris the next day." 
" That was indeed most unfortunate." 
" Well I don't know. I was going with a woman 
I did not really know. I meant to go, and she had 
been thinking of going and knew Paris and where to 
stay cheaply and suggested we should join forces. 
A sort of marriage of convenience. I was not 
really disappointed. I was relieved ; though awfully 
sorry to fail her. But everyone was so kind I was 
simply astonished. I spent the evening on the 
sofa in the dining-room ; and they all sat quietly 
about near me. One man, a Swede, who had only 
just arrived, sat on the end of the sofa and told 
Swedish folk stories in a quiet motherly voice, and 
turned out afterwards to be the noisiest, jolliest, 
most screamingly funny man we have ever had here. 
About eleven o'clock I felt faint and we discovered 
that my arm must have broken out again some time 
before. Two of the men rushed off to find a doctor 
and brought an extraordinary little old retired 
surgeon with white hair and trembling hands. He 
wheezed and puffed and bound me up afresh and 
went away refusing a fee. I wanted some milk, 
and the Swede went out at midnight and found some 

somewhere .1 come back with at least 

one cow or I come not at all Of course a 

week later I had stitch abscesses." 


" But this man was a criminal.'''' 

" Yes wasn't it abominable. Poor man. The 
two doctors who saw my arm later said that many 
limbs have been lost for less. He counted on my 
being in such good health. He told Mrs. Bailey 
I was in splendid health. But he sent in a big 

" I sincerely trust you did not pay this." 

" I sent him a description of his operation, told 
him the result and said that my friends considered 
that I ought to prosecute him." 

" Certainly it was your duty." 

" I don't know. I hate cornering people. It 
would not have made him different and I am no 
better than he is." 

" That is a most extraordinary point of view." 

" I was sorry afterwards that I had written like 

" Why ? " 

" Because he threw himself into Dublin Harbour 
a year later. He must have been in fearful difficul- 

" No excuse for criminal neglect." 

" The most wonderful thing in the accident 
itself," pursued Miriam firmly, grasping her mid- 
night freedom and gazing into the pattern her 
determination that for another few minutes no 
one should come up to interrupt, " was being so 
near to death." She glanced up to gauge the 
effect of her improvisation. The moment she was 
now intent upon had not been ' wonderful.' She 
would not be able to substantiate it ; she had 
never thought it through. It lay ahead now for 


exploration if he wished, ready to reveal its quality 

to her for the first time he was sitting 

hunched against the wall with his hands driven into 
his pockets, waiting without resistance, with an 
intentness equal to her own . . . she returned 
gratefully to her carpet. " It was a skid " she said 
feeling the oily slither of her front tyre. " I fell 
with my elbow and head between the horses' heels 
and the wheel of a dray. The back-thrown hoof 
of the near horse caught the inner side of my arm, 
and for a long long time I saw the grey steel rim of 
the huge wheel approaching my head. It was 
'strained back with all my force, my elbow pressing 
the ground, but I thought it could not miss me. 
There was a moment of absolute calm ; indifference 
almost. It came after a feeling of hatred and yet 
pity for the wheel. It was so awful, wet glittering 
grey, and relentless ; and stupid, it could not help 
going on." 

" This was indeed a most remarkable psycho- 
logical experience. It happens rarely to be so near 
death with full consciousness. But this absence of 
fear must be in you a personal idiosyncracy." 

" But I was afraid. The. thing is that you don't 
go on feeling afraid. Do you see ? " 

" I hear what you say. But while there is the 
chance of life the instinct of self-preservation is so 
strong "... 

" But that is the surprise ; the tumult in your 
body, something surging up and doing things 
without thinking." 

" Instinctive nervous reaction." 

" But there is something else. In the moment 


you are sure you are going to be killed, death 
changes. You wait, for the moment after." 

" That is an illusion, the strength of life in you 
that cannot, midst good health, accept death. 
But tell me ; your arm was certainly broken ? " 
His gently breathed question took away the sting 
of his statement. 

" No. The wheel went over it just above the 
bend of the elbow. I did not feel it, and got up 
feeling only a little dizzy just for a moment and 
horribly annoyed at the crowd round me. But 
the two men who were riding with me told me 
afterwards that my face was grey and my eyes 
quite black.''^ 

" That was shock." He rose and stood facing 
her, in shadow ; dark and frock-coated, like a 

^' Yes ; but I mean it shows that things look worse 
than they are." 

" That is most certainly a deduction that might 
be drawn. Nevertheless you suffered a most 
formidable shock.'''' 

She moved towards the gas looking decisively up 
at it ; and felt herself standing unexpressed, under 
the wide arch of all they had said. He must be 
told to remember to put out the gas before he went. 
That said, there was nothing in the world but a 
reluctant departure. 


THREE months ago the Christmas had been 
a goal for which she could hardly wait. It 
had offered her, this time, more than its usual safe 
deep firelit seclusion beyond which no future was 
visible. It was to pay her in full for having missed 
the beginning of Eve's venture, taking her down 
into the midst of it when everything was in order 
and the beginnings still near enough to be remem- 
bered. But having remained during the engrossing 
months, forgotten, at the same far-distant point, 
Christmas now suddenly reared itself up a few days 
off, offering nothing but the shadow of an un- 
avoidable interruption. For the first time she 
could see life going on beyond it. She would go 
down into its irrelevance, taking part in everything 
with absent-minded animation, looking towards 
her return to town. It would not be Christmas, 
and the long days of forced absence threatened the 
features of the year that rose, far away and uncertain, 
beyond the obstruction. 

But the afternoon she came home with four 
days holiday in her hand, past and future were 
swept from her path. To-morrow's journey was 
a far-off appointment, her London friends remote 
shadows, banished from the endless continuance 
of life. She wandered about between Wimpole 
H 107 


Street and St. Pancras, holding in imagination 
wordless converse with a stranger whose whole 
experience had melted and vanished like her own, 
into the flow of light down the streets ; into the 
unending joy of the way the angles of buildings cut 
themselves out against the sky, glorious if she 
paused to survey them ; and almost unendurably 
wonderful, keeping her hurrying on pressing, through 
insufficient silent outcries, towards something, any- 
thing, even instant death, if only they could be 
expressed when they moved with her movement, a 
maze of shapes, flowing, tilting into each other, 
in endless patterns, sharp against the light ; sharing 
her joy in the changing same same song of the 
London traflic ; the bliss of post-offlces and 
railway stations, cabs going on and on towards 
unknown space ; omnibuses rumbling securely 
from point to point, always within the magic 
circle of London. 

Her meal was a crowded dinner-party, all the 
people in the restaurant its guests, plunging with 
her, released from experience, unhauntcd by hope 
or regret, into the endless beginning. Into the 
wrapped contemplation of the gathering, the 
thought of her visit flashed like a star, dropping 
towards her, and when she was gathering things 
together for her packing, her eagerness flamed up 
and lit her room. 

The many Christmasses with the 

Brooms had been part of her long run of escape 
from the pain-shadowed family life ; their house 
at first a dream-house in the unbroken dream of 
her own life in London, a shelter where agony was 


unknown, and lately a forgetfulness, for the long 
days of the holiday, of the challenge that lived in the 
walls of her room. For so long the walls had 
ceased to be the thrilled companions of her freedom, 
they had seen her endless evening hours of waiting 
for the next day to entangle her in its odious 
revolution. They had watched her in bleak daylight 
listening to life going on obliviously all round her, 
and scornfully sped her desperate excursions into 
other lives, greeting her empty glad return with the 
reminder that relief would fade, leaving her alone 
-again with their unanswered challenge. They knew 
the recurring picture of a form, drifting, grey face 
upwards, under a featureless grey sky, in shallows, 
" unreached by the human tide " and had seen its 
realisation in her vain prayer that life should not 
pass her by ; mocking the echoes of her cry, and 
waiting indifferent, serene with the years they knew 
before she came, for those that would follow her 
meaningless impermanence. When she lost the 
sense of herself in moments of gladness, or in the 
long intervals of thought that encircled her inter- 
mittent reading, they were all round her, waiting, 
ready to remind her, undeceived by her daily busy 
passing in and out, relentlessly counting its secret 
accumulating shame. 

During the last three months they had not 
troubled her. They had become transparent, while 
the influence of her summer still had them at bay, 
to the glow shed up from the hours she had spent 
downstairs with Mrs. Bailey, and before there was 
time for them to close round her once more, the 
figure of Michael Shatov, with Europe stretching 


wide behind him, had forced them into companion- 
ship with all the walls in the world. She had been 
conscious that they waited for his departure ; 
but it was far away out of sight, and when she 
should be once more alone with them, their attack 
would find her surrounded ; lives lived alone within 
the vanquished walls of single poor bare rooms 
in every town in Europe would come visibly to her 
aid, driving her own walls back into dependence. 

But to-night they were radiant. On no walls 
in the world could there be a brighter light. Stream- 
ing from their gaslit spaces, wherever she turned, 
was the wide brilliance that had been on every- 
thing in the days standing behind the shadow that 
had driven her into their enclosure. Eve and 
Harriett, waiting for her together, in a new sunlit 
life, were the full answer to their challenge. She 
was going home. The walls were traveller's walls. 
That had been their first fascination ; but they 
had known her only as a traveller ; now as she 
dipped into the unbroken life that would flow round 
her with the sound of her sisters' blended voices, 
they knew whence she came and what had been 
left behind. They saw her years of travel contract 
to a few easily afforded moments, lit though she 
had not known it, by light instreaming from the 
past and flowing now visibly ahead across the 
farther years. 

The distant forgotten forms of the friends of her 
London life, turning away slighted, filled her, 
watching them, with a half-repenting solicitude. 
But they had their mysterious secret life, incom- 
prehensible, but their own ; they turned away 


towards each other and their own affairs, all of 
them set, at varying angles, inquestioningly towards 
a prospect she did not wish to share. 

She went eagerly to sleep and woke in a few 
moments in a morning whose sounds coming through 
the open window, called to her as she leapt 
out towards them, for responsive demonstrations. 
Her desire to shout, thrilled to her feet, winged 

Sitting decorously at the breakfast-table, she felt 
in equal relationship to all the bright assembly, 
holding off Mr. Shatov's efforts to engage her in 
direct conversation, that she might hear, thoughtless 
and uncomprehending, the general sound of inter- 
woven bright inflections echoing quietly out into 
the vast morning. She ran out into it, sending off 
her needless telegram for the joy of skimming over 
the well-known flags with endless time to spare. 
The echoing London sky poured down upon them 
the light of all the world. Within it her share 
gleamed dancing, given to her by the London 
years, the London life, shining now, far away, in 
multitudinous detail, the contemplated enviable 
life of a stranger. 

The third-class carriage was stuffy and cold, 
crowded with excited travellers whose separate eyes 
strove in vain to reach the heart of the occasion 
through a ceaseless exclamatory interchange about 
what lay just behind them and ahead at the end of 

the journey At some time, for some moments 

during the ensuing days, each one of them would 

be alone Consulting the many pairs of 

eyes, so different yet so strangely alike in their 


method of contemplation, so hindered and dis- 
tracted, she felt, with a stifling pang of conviction, 
that their days would pass and bring no solitude, 
no single touch of realisation, and leave them going 
on, with eyes still quenched and glazed, striving 
outwards, now here now there, to reach some 
unapprehended goal. 

Immersing herself in her corner she saw nothing 
more until Eve's face appeared in the crowd wait- 
ing upon the seaside platform. Eve beamed 
welcome and eager wordless communications and 
turned at once to lead the way through the throng. 
They hurried, separated by Miriam's hand-luggage, 
silenced by the din of the traffic rattling over the 
cobblestones, meeting and parting amongst the 
thronging pedestrians, down the steep slope of the 
narrow street until Eve turned, with a piloting 
backward glance, and led the way along the cobbled 
pavement of a side-street, still narrower and sloping 
even more steeply downhill. It was deserted, and 
as they went single-file along the narrow pavement, 
Miriam caught in the distance, the unwonted sound 
of the winter sea. She had not thought of the sea 
as part of her visit, and lost herself in the faint 
familiar roll and flump of the south-coast tide. It 
was enough. The holiday came and passed in the 
imagined sight of the waves tumbling in over the 
grey beach, and the breaking of the brilliant 
seaside light upon the varying house-fronts behind 
the promenade ; she returned restored ; the prize 
of far-off London renewed already, keenly, within 
her hands, to find Eve standing still just ahead, 
turned towards her ; smiling too breathlessly for 


speech. They were in front of a tiny shop-front, 
slanting with the steep slant of the little road. The 
window was full of things set close to the panes on 
narrow shelves. Miriam stood back, pouring out 
her appreciation. It was perfect ; just as she had 
imagined it ; exactly the little shop she had dreamed 
of keeping when she was a child. She felt a pang 
of envy. 

" Mine " said Eve blissfully " my own." Eve 
had property ; fragile delicate Eve^ the problem of 
the family. This was her triumph. Miriam 
hurried, lest her thoughts should become visible, to 
-glance up and down the street and exclaim the 
perfection of the situation. 

" I know " said Eve with dreamy tenderness, 
" and it's all my own ; the shop and the house ; all 
mine." Miriam's eyes rose fearfully. Above the 
shop, a narrow strip of bright white plaster house 
shot up, two storeys high ; charming, in the way it 
was complete, a house, and yet the whole of it, with 
a strip of sky above, and the small neat pavement 
below, in your eye at once, and beside it right and 
left, the irregular heights and widths of the small 
houses, close-built and flush with the edge of the 
little pavement, up and down the hill. But the 
thought of the number of rooms inside the little 
building brought, together with her longing to see 
them, a sense of the burden of possessions, and her 
envy disappeared. While she cried you've got a 
house^ she wondered, scanning Eve's radiant slender 
form, whence she drew with all her apparent 
helplessness, the strength to face such formidable 


" I've let the two rooms over the shop. I live at 
the top." As she exclaimed on the implied wealth, 
Miriam found her envy wandering back in the 
thought o£ the two rooms under the sky, well away 
from the shop in another world, the rest of the 
house securely cared for by other people. She 
moved to the window. " All the right things " she 
murmured, from her shocked survey of the rows of 
light green bottles filled with sweets, the boxes of 
soap, cigarettes, clay pipes, bootlaces, jewellery 
pinned to cards, crackers and tightly packed pink 
and white muslin Christmas stockings. Between 
the shelves she saw the crowded interior of the 
little shop, a strip of counter, a man with rolled up 
shirt sleeves, busily twisting a small screw of paper. 
. . . Gerald. 

" Come inside " said Eve from the door. 

"Hullo, Mirry, what d'you think of the em- 
porium ? " Gerald, his old easy manner, his 
smooth polished gentle voice, his neat, iron hand- 
shake across the mean little counter, gave Eve's 
enterprise the approval of all the world. " I've 
done up enough screws of tea to last you the whole 
blessed evening " he went on from the midst of 
Miriam's exclamations " and at least twenty people 
have been in since you left." A little door flew open 
in the wall just behind him and Harriett, in an 
overall, stood at the top of a short flight of stairs, 
leaping up and down in the doorway. Miriam ran 
round behind the counter, freely. Eve's shop, their 
shop, behind her. " Hulloh old silly " beamed 
Harriet kissing and shaking her " I just rushed 
down, can't stay a minute, I'm in the middle of 


nine dinners, they're all leaving to-morrow and 
you're to come and sleep with wj." She fled down 
the steps, out through the shop and away up the 
hill, with a rousing attack on Gerald as she passed 
him leaning with Eve over the till. Miriam was 
welcomed. The fact of her visit was more to 
Harriett than her lodgers. She collected her 
belongings and carried them up the steps past a 
small dark flight of stairs into a dark little room. 
A small fire was burning in a tiny kitchen range ; 
a candle guttered on the mantelpiece in the draught 
from the shop ; there was no window and the air of 
'the room was close with the combined odours of the 
things crowded into the small space. She went 
back into the bright familiar shop. Gerald was 
leaving ; see you to-morrow he called from the 
door with his smile. 

" Now ; I'll fight the lamp and we'll be cosy " 
said Eve leading the way back into the little room. 
Miriam waited impatiently for the lamp to make a 
live centre in the crowded gloom. The little black 
kitchen fire was intolerable as president of Eve's 
leisure. But the dim lamp, standing low on a little 
table, made the room gloomier and Eve was back in 
the shop with a customer. Only the dingy little 
table, a battered tray bearing the remains of a 
hasty, shabby tea, the fall below it of a faded ugly 
fringed tablecloth and a patch of threadbare 

carpet, were clearly visible She could not 

remove her attention from them. 

Lying sleepless by Eve's side late that night, she 
watched the pictures that crowded the darkness. 
Her first moments in the little back room were far 


away. The small dark bedroom was full of the last 
picture of Eve, in her nightgown, quietly relentless 
after explaining that she always kept the window 
shut because plenty of air came in, taking a heavy 
string of large blue beads out of her top drawer, to 
put them in readiness with to-morrow's dress. No ; 
I don't think that a bit ; and if I zvere a savage, I 
should hang myself all over with beads and love it. 

She had spoken with such conviction Up 

here, with her things arranged round her as she 
had had them at home and in her bedroom at the 
Greens', she kept her life as it had always been. She 
was still her unchanged self, but her freedom was 
giving her the strength to be sure of her opinions. 
It was as if she had been saying all the evening with 
long accumulating preparedness, holding her poise 
throughout the interruptions of customers and 
down into the details of the story of her adventures, 
Tes I know your opinions, I have heard them all 
my life, and now I'm out in the world myself and 
can meet everybody as an equal, and say what I 
think, without wondering whether it suits my part 
as the Greens' governess. She had got her strength 
from the things she had done. It was amazing to 
think of her summoning courage to break again with 
the Greens and borrowing from them to start in 
business, Mr. Green ' setting his heart ' on the 
success of the little shop and meaning to come 
down and see how it was getting on. How awful 
it would be if it did not get on. . . . But it was 

getting on How terrifying it must have 

been at first not knowing the price of anything in 
the shop or what to buy for it . . . and then. 


customers telling her the prices of things and where 
they were kept, and travellers being kind ; respect- 
ful and friendly and ready to go out of their way 
to do anything .... that was the other side of 
Maupassant's " hourrah pour la petite difference " 
commis voyageurs .... and well-to-do people in 
the neighbourhood rushing in for some little thing, 
taken aback to find a lady behind the counter, and 
coming again for all sorts of things. . . . Eve would 
become like one of those middle-aged women shop- 
keepers in books, in the country, with a kind heart 
and a sarcastic tongue, seeing through everybody 
and having the same manner for the vicar and a 
ploughman, or a rather nicer manner for a plough- 
man. No. Eve was still sentimental. . . . 

Those wonderful letters were a bridge ; a 
promise for the future. . . . They were the letters 
of a boy ; that was the struggling impression she 
had not been able to convey. She could start the 
day well by telling Eve that in the morning. They 
were the letters of a youth in love for the first time 
in his life . . . and he had fifteen grandchildren. 
" So wonderful when you think of that old, old 
man " had not expressed it at all. They were 
wonderful for anybody. Page after page, all 
breathing out the way things shine when the sense 
of someone who is not there, is there all the time. 
Eve knew what it had meant to him ; " age makes 
no difference." Then might life suddenly shine 
like that at any moment, right up to the end. . . . 
And it made Eve so wonderful ; having no idea, 
all those years, and thinking him just a very kind 
old man to come, driving, almost from his death- 


bed, with a little rose-tree in the carriage for her. 
It was so perfect that he wrote only after she had 
gone, and he knew he was dying ; a youth in love for 
the first time. If there were a future life he would 
be watching, for Eve to walk gently in crowned 
with song and making everything sing all round her. 
. . . But what of the wife, and of Eve's future 
husband ? In Heaven there is neither marrying 
nor giving in marriage .... but Kingsley said, 
then that has nothing to do with me and my wife. 
Perhaps that was an example of the things he 
suddenly thought of, walking quickly up and down 
the garden with a friend, and introduced by saying 

" I have always thought " But perhaps the 

things that occur to you suddenly for the first 
time in conversation are the things you have always 
thought, without knowing it ... . that was one 
of the good things in talking to Michael Shatov, 
finding out thoughts, looking at them when they 
were expressed and deciding to change them, or 
think them more decidedly than ever . . she 
could explain all that to Eve in the morning as an 
introduction to him. Or perhaps she could again say, 
having Eve's attention free of the shop, " I have 
two pounds to spend on chocolate. Isn't it extra- 
ordinary. I must, I am on my honour," and then 
go on. It was horrible that Eve had hardly noticed 
such a startling remark. . . . She turned im- 
patiently ; the morning would never come ; she 
would never sleep in this stagnant shut-in motion- 
less air. To-morrow night she would be in a room 
by herself at Harry's ; but not quite so near to the 
sea. How could Eve shut out life and the sound of 


the sea ? She puffed her annoyance, hardly caring 
if Eve were disturbed, ready to ask her if she could 
not smell the smell of the house and the shop and 
the little back room. But that was not true. She 
was imagining it because the motionless air was 
getting on her nerves. If she could not forget it 
she would have no sleep until she dozed with 
exhaustion in the morning. And to-morrow was 
Christmas Day. She lay still, straining her ears to 
catch the sound of the sea. 

The next night the air poured in at an open 
window, silently lifting long light muslin curtains 
and waving them about the little narrow room 
filled as with moonlight by the soft blue light from 
the street-lamp below. The sound of the sea 
drowned the present in the sense of sea-side 
summers ; bringing back moments of chance 
wakenings on sea-side holidays, when the high blaze 
of yesterday and to-morrow were together in the 
darkness. Miriam slept at once and woke refreshed 
and careless in the frosty sunrise. Her room was 
blazing with golden light. She lay motionless, 
contemplating it. There was no sound in the 
house. She could watch the sunlight till some- 
thing happened. Harry would see that she got up 
in time for breakfast. There would be sunlight at 
breakfast in the room below ; and Harry and 

Gerald and the remains of Christmas leisure 

" We only keep going because of Elspeth." How 
could she have gone off to sleep last night without 
recalling that ? If Harry and Gerald found 
marriage a failure, it was a failure. Perhaps it was 
a passing phase and they would think differently 


later on. But they had spoken so simply, as if it 
were a commonplace fact known to everybody . . . 
they had met so many people by this time. Nearly 
all their lodgers had been married, and unhappy. 
Perhaps that was because they were nearly all 
theatrical people ? If Harry had stayed in London 
and not had to work for a living would she have 
been happier ? No ; she was gayer down here ; 
even more herself. It amused her to have rushes, 
and turn out three rooms after ten o'clock at night. 
They both seemed to run the house as a sort of 
joke, and remained absolutely themselves. Perhaps 
that was just in talking about it, at Christmas, to 
her. It certainly must be horrible in the season, as 
Harry said, the best part of the house packed with 
selfish strangers for the very best part of the year ; 
so much to do for them all day that there was never 

even time to run down to the sea Visitors 

did not think of that. If they considered their 
landlady it would spoil their one fortnight of being 
free. Landladies ought to be old ; not minding 
about working all day for other people and never 
seeing the sea. Harry was too young to be a land- 
lady the gently moving curtains were 

flat against the window again for a moment, a veil 
of thin muslin screening the brilliant gold, making 
it an even tone all over the room ; a little oblong of 
misty golden light. Even for Harry's sake she could 
not let any tinge of sadness invade it. . . That was 
being exactly like the summer visitors. . . 

" Good Gracious ! " The door was open and 
Harry, entering with a jug of hot water was 
enveloped in the end of the out-blown curtains. 


" Why on Earth d'you have your window like that ? 
It's simply bitter.''^ 

" I love it " said Miriam, watching Harriett's 
active little moving form battle with the flying 
draperies. " I'm revelling in it." 

*' Well I won't presume to shut it ; but revel up. 
Here you are. Breakfast's nearly ready. Hold the 
ends while I get out and shut the door." 

Harry too ; and she used to be so fond of open 
windows. But it was not a snub. She would say to 
Gerald she's got her window bang open, isn't she 
an old Cure P She got out singing into the fresh 
golden air leaving the window wide. The London 
temptation to shirk her swift shampoo and huddle 
on a garment did not come. The sense of summer 
was so strong in the bright air that she felt sure, 
if only she could have always bright screened light 
in her room, summer warmth and summer happi- 
ness would last the whole year round. 

Gerald was pouring out coffee. In the kitchen 
the voices of Harriett and Mrs. Thimm were railing 
cheerfully together. Harriett came in with a rush, 
slamming the door. " Is it too warm for you in here 
Miss Henderson ? " she asked as she drove Gerald to 
his own end of the table. 

" It's glorious " said Miriam subsiding into in- 
definite anticipation. The room was very warm 
with sunlight and a blazing fire. But there was no 
pressure anywhere. It was their youth and the way 
being with them made things go backwards as far 
as one could see and confidently forward from any 
room they happened to be in. A meal with them 
always seemed as if it might go on for ever. She 


glanced affectionately from one to the other, long- 
ing to convey to them in some form of words the 
thing they did not seem to know, the effect they 
made, together, through having been together from 
such early beginnings, how it gave and must always 
give a confidence to the very expression of their hair, 
making them always about to start life together. It 
came from Harriett, and was reflected by Gerald, a 
light that played about him, decking him in his 
most unconscious, busy, man's moments with the 
credit of having found Harriett. They seemed more 
suitably arranged, confronted here together in this 
bright eventful house, meeting adventures together, 
mutually efficient towards a common end, than v/ith 
Gerald in business and Harry silken and leisurely in 
a suburban house 

'' We'll be more glorious in a minute " said Gerald 
sweeping actively about. " I'll just move that old 

" Oh of course " mocked Harriett, " look at the 
importance . . ." 

Whistling softly Gerald placed a small square box 
on the table amongst the breakfast things. 

" Oh dear me " moaned Harriett from behind the 
coffee pot, smirking coyly backwards over her shoul- 
der, " hoh, ar^nH we grand." " It's the new toy " 
she rapped avertedly towards Miriam, in a despair- 
ing whisper. Gerald interrupted his whistling to 
fix on to the box a sort of trumpet, a thing that 
looked like a wide-open green nasturtium. 

" Is it a musical box ? " asked Miriam. 

" D'you mean to say you've never seen a gramo- 
phone yet ? " murmured Gerald, frowning and 


flicking away dust with his handkerchief. They did 
not mean as much as they appeared to do when they 

said Hfe was not worth Hving they had 

not discovered Hfe. Gerald did not know the mean- 
ing of his interest in things. " People grieve and 
bemoan themselves, but it is not half so bad with 
them as they say " 

" I haven't. I've heard them squeaking inside 
public houses of course." 

'' Now's your chance then. Woa Jemima ! 

That's the ticket. Now she's off " 

_ Miriam waited, breathless ; eagerly prepared to 
accept the coming wonder. A sound like the crack- 
ling of burning twigs came out into the silence. She 
remembered her first attempt to use a telephone, 
the need for concentrating calmly through the pre- 
liminary tumult, on the certainty that intelligible 
sounds would presently emerge, and listened en- 
couragingly for a voice. The crackling changed to 
a metallic scraping, labouring steadily round and 
round, as if it would go on for ever ; it ceased and 
an angry stentorian voice seemed to be struggling, 
half-smothered, in the neck of the trumpet. Miriam 
gazed, startled, at the yawning orifice, as the voice 
suddenly escaped and leapt out across the table with 
a shout — ' Edison-BELL RECord ! Lightly struck 
chords tinkled far away, fairy music, sounding clear 
and distinct on empty space remote from the steady 
scraping of the machine. Then a song began. The 
whole machine seemed to sing it ; vibrating with 
effort, sending forth the notes in a jerky staccato, 
the scarcely touched words clipped and broken to fit 
the jingling tune ; the sustained upper notes at the 


end of the verse wavered chromatically, as if the 
machine were using its last efforts to reach the true 
pitch ; it ceased and the far away chords came again, 
fainter and further away. In the second verse the 
machine struggled more feebly and slackened its 
speed, flattened suddenly to a lower key, wavered on, 
flattening from key to key and collapsed, choking, 
on a single downward-slurring squeak 

" Oh, but that's absolutely perfect " gasped 

" You want to set it slower silly ; it all began too 


" / know, la reine, he knows, he'll set it slower all 

Tliis time the voice marched lugubriously forth, 
with a threatening emphasis on each word ; the sus- 
tained notes blared wide through their mufilings ; 
yawned out by an angry lion. 

" My word " said Harriett " it's a funeral this 

" But it's glorious ! Can you make it go as slowly 
as you like ? " 

" We'll get it right presently, never fear." 

Miriam felt that no correct performance could be 
better than what she had heard, and listened care- 
lessly to the beginning of the third performance. If 
it succeeded the blissful light flowing from the room 
out over her distant world must either be shattered 
by her tacit repudiation of the cheaply devised ditty, 
or treacherously preserved at the price of simulated 
satisfaction. The prelude sounded nearer this time, 
revealing a piano and an accompanist, and the song 
came steadily out, a pleasant kindly baritone. 


beating along on a middle key ; a nice unimaginative 
brown-haired young man, who happened to have a 
voice. She ceased to attend ; the bright breakfast- 
table, the cheerfully decorated square room bathed 
in the brilhant morning light that was flooding the 
upward slope of the town from the wide sky tower- 
ing above the open sea, was suddenly outside space 
and time, going on for ever untouched ; the early 
days flowed up, recovered completely from the pas- 
sage of time, going forward with to-day added to 
them, forever. The march of the refrain came lilt- 
ing across the stream of days, joyfully beating out 
the common recognition of the three listeners. She 
restrained her desire to take it up, flinging out her 
will to hold back the others, that they might face 
out the moment and let it make its full mark. In 
the next refrain they could all take the relief of 
shouting their acknowledgement, a hymn to the 
three-fold life. The last verse was coming success- 
fully through ; in an instant the chorus refrain 
would be there. It was old and familiar, woven 
securely into experience, beginning its life as 
memory. She listened eagerly. It was partly too, 
she thought, absence of singer and audience that 
redeemed both the music and the words. It was a 
song overheard ; sounding out innocently across the 
morning. She saw the sun shining on the distant 
hill-tops, the comrades in line, and the lingering 
lover tearing himself away for the roll-call. The re- 
frain found her far away, watching the scene until 
the last note should banish it. 

The door opened and Elspeth stood in the door- 


" Well my pet ? " said Harriett and Gerald gently, 

She trotted round the open door, carefully closing 
it with her body, her steady eyes taking in the dis- 
position of affairs. In a moment she stood near the 
table, the silky rounded golden crown of her head 
rising just above it. Miriam thrilled at her nearness, 
delighting in the firm clutch of the tiny hand on the 
edge of the table, the gentle shapely bulge of the 
ends of her hair inturned towards her neck, the little 
busy bustling expression of her bunchy motionless 
little muslin dress. Suddenly she looked up in her 
way, Gerald's disarming gentleness, all Eve's reined- 
in gaiety ..." I your baby ? " she asked with a 
small lunge of affection. Miriam blushed. The 

tiny thing had remembered from yesterday 

Yes, she murmured encircling her and pressing her 
Hps to the warm silken top of her head. Gerald 
burst into loud wailing. Elspeth moved backwards 
towards Harriett and stood propped against her, con- 
templating him with sunny interest. Harriett's firm 
ringed hand covered the side of her head. 

" Poor Poppa " she suggested. 

" Be m-ut Gerald ! " Elspeth cried serenely, 
frowning with effort. She stood on tip-toe survey- 
ing the contents of the table and waved a peremp- 
tory hand towards the gramophone. Gerald tried 
to make a bargain. Lifted on to Harriett's knee she 
bunched her hands and sat compact. The direct 
rays made her head a little sunlit sphere, smoothly 
outlined with silky pale gold hair bulging softly over 
each ear, the broken curve continued by the gentle 
bulge of her cheeks as she pursed her face to meet 


the sunlight. She peered unsmiHng, but every curve 
smiled ; a little sunny face, sunlit. Fearing that 
she would move, Miriam tried to centre attention 
by seeming engrossed in Gerald's operations, 
glancing sideways meanwhile in an entrancement 
o£ effort to define in her small perfection. The list 
of single items summoned images of children who 
missed her charm by some accentuation of charac- 
ter, pointing backwards to the emphatic qualities of 
a relative and forward so clearly that already they 
seemed adult. Elspeth predicted nothing. The 
closest observation revealed no point of arrest. Her 
undivided impression once caught, could be re- 
covered in each separate feature. 

Eve came in as the music ceased. In the lull that 
followed the general greetings Miriam imagined a 
repetition of the song, to carry Eve back into what 
had gone before and forward with them in the un- 
changed morning. But Mrs. Thimm broke in with 
a tray and scattered them all towards the fire. Let's 
hear Molly Darling once more she thought in a 
casual tone. After yesterday Eve would take that 
as a lack of interest in her presence. Supposing she 
did ? She was so changed that she could be treated 

without consideration, as an equal but 

she overdid it, preening herself, caring more for the 
idea of independence than for the fact. That would 
not keep her going. She would not be strong enough 
to sustain her independence 

The sense of triumph threw up an effulgence even 
^vhile Miriam accused herself of cruelty in contem- 
plating the droopy exhaustion which had outlived 
Eve's day of rest. But she was not alone in this ; 


nice good people were secretly impatient with rela- 
tives who were always threatening to break down 
and become problems. And Eve had almost ceased 
to be a relative. Descending to the rank of com- 
petitor she was no longer a superior she 

was an inferior masquerading as an equal 

that was what men meant in the newspapers. Then 
it couldn't be true. There was some other ex- 
planation. It was because she was using her inde- 
pendence as a revenge for the past What 

men resented was the sudden reflection of their 
detachment by women who had for themselves dis- 
covered its secret, and knew what uncertainties went 
on behind it. She was resenting Eve's independence 
as a man would do. Eve was saying she now under- 
stood the things that in the past she had only 
admired, and that they were not so admirable, and 
quite easy to do. But she disgraced the discovery 
by flaunting it. It was so evident that it was her 
shop, not she that had come into the room and 
spoiled the morning. Even now she was dwelling 
on next week. Inside her mind was nothing but her 
customers, travellers, the possible profits, her many 
plans for improvement. Nothing else could impress 
her. Anything she contributed would rest more 
than ever, now that Christmas Day was over, upon 
a back-ground of absent-minded complacency. Like 
herself, with the Brooms ? Was it she who was being 
judged and not Eve ? No, or only by herself. 
Harriett shared her new impressions of Eve, saw 
how eagerly in her clutch on her new interests she 
had renounced her old background of inexhaustible 
sympathy. Gerald did not. But men have no sense 


o£ atmosphere. They only see the appearances of 
things, understanding nothing o£ their relationships. 
Bewilderment, pessimistic philosophies, regretful 

The song might banish Eve's self-assertion and 
bring back something of her old reality. Music, any 
music, would always make Eve real. Perhaps Elspeth 
would ask for it. But in the long inactive seconds, 
things had rushed ahead shattering the sunlit hour. 
Nothing could make it settle again. Eve had missed 
it for ever. But she had discovered its presence. 
Its broken vestiges played about her retreat as she 
turned away to Elspeth ; Gerald who alone was un- 
conscious of her discovery, having himself been 
spell-bound without recognising his whereabouts, 
was inaccessibly filling his pipe. She was far-off 
now, trying to break her way in by an attack on 
Elspeth. Miriam watched anxiously, reading the 
quality of their daily intercourse. Elspeth was re- 
sponding with little imitative movements, arch 
smiles and gestures. Miriam writhed. Eve would 
teach her to see life as people, a few prominent 

over-emphasised people in a fixed world But 

Elspeth soon broke away to trot up and down the 
hearth-rug, and when Gerald caught and held her, 
asking as he puffed at his pipe above her head a rally- 
ing question about the shop, she stood propped 
looking from face to face, testing voices. 

The morning had changed to daytime 

Gerald and Eve made busy needless statements, 
going over in the form of question and answer the 
history of the shop, and things that had been obvi- 
ously already discussed to exhaustion. Across 


Harriett's face thoughts about Eve and her venture 
passed in swift comment on the conversation. Now 
and again she betrayed her impatience, leaping out 
into abrupt ironic emendations and presently rose 
with a gasp, thumping Miriam gently, " Come on, 
you've got to try on that blouse." The colloquy 
snapped. Eve turned a flushed face and sat back 
looking uneasily into vacancy as if for something she 
had forgotten to say. 

" Try it on down here," said Gerald. 

" Don't be idiotic." 

" It's all right. We shan't mind. We won't look 
till she's got it on." 

" If you look then, you will be dazzled by my 
radiance." Miriam stood listening in astonishment 
to the echoes of the phrase, fashioned from nothing 
upon her lips by something within her, unknown, 
wildly to be welcomed if its power of using words 
that left her not merely untouched and unspent, 
but taut and invigorated, should prove to be reli- 
able. She watched the words go forward outside 
her with a life of their own, palpable, a golden 
thread between herself and the world, the first 
strand of a bright pattern she and Gerald would 
weave from their separate engrossments whenever 
their lives should cross. Through Gerald's banter- 
ing acknowledgement she gazed out before her into 
the future, an endless perspective of blissful un- 
broken silence, shielded by the gift of speech 

The figure of Eve, sitting averted towards the fire, 
flung her back. To Eve her words were not silence ; 
but a blow deliberately struck. With a thrill of sad- 
ness she recognised the creative power of anger. If 


she had not been angry with Eve she would have 
w^ondered whether Gerald were secretly amused by 
her continued interest in blouses, and have fallen 
stupidly dumb before the need of explaining, as her 
mind now rapidly proceeded to do, cancelling her 
sally as a base foreign achievement, that her interest 
was only a passing part of holiday relaxation, to be 
obliterated to-morrow by the renewal of a life that 
held everything he thought she was missing, in a 
way and with a quality new and rich beyond any- 
thing he could dream, and contemplating these 
things, would have silently left him with his judg- 
ment confirmed. She had moved before Gerald, 
safely ensphered in the life of words, and in the same 
movement was departing now, on the wings of 
Harriett's rush, a fiend denying her kindred. 

Running upstairs she reflected that if the finished 
blouse suited her it was upon Eve that it would most 
powerfully cast its spell. The shoulders had been 
good. Defects in the other parts could not spoil 
them, and the squareness of her shoulders was an 
odd thing for which she was not responsible. Eve 
only admired them because hers sloped. She would 
come down again as the gay buffoon Eve used to 
know, letting the effect of the blouse be incidental, 
making to-day to-day, shaking them all out of the 
contemplation of circumstances. She would give 
some of her old speeches and musical sketches, if she 
could manage to begin when Gerald was not there, 
and Eve would laugh till she cried. No one would 
guess that she was buoyed up by her own invisible 
circumstances, forgotten as she browsed amongst 
new impressions, and now returning upon her 


moment by moment with accumulated force. But 
upstairs, confronted by Harriett in the summerht 
seaside sunshine, she found the past half-hour be- 
tween them, pressing for comment, and they danced 
silently confronting each other, dancing and dancing 
till they had said their say. 

The visit ended in the stillness that fell upon the 
empty carriage as the train left the last red-roofed 
houses behind and slid out into the open country. 
She swung for an instant over the spread of the 
town, serene unchanging sunlit grey, and brilliant 
white, green shuttered and balconied, towards the 
sea, warm yellow brick, red-roofed, towards the 
inland green, her visit still ahead of her. But the 
interiors of Eve's dark little house and Harriett's 
bright one slipped in between her and the pictured 
town, and the four days' succession of incidents 
overtook her in disorder, playing themselves out, 
backwards and forwards, singly, in clear succession, 
two or three together, related to each other by some 
continuity of mood within herself, pell mell, swiftly 
interchanging, each scene in turn claiming the fore- 
most place ; moments stood out dark and over- 
shadowing ; the light that flooded the whole strove 
in vain to reach these painful peaks. The far-away 
spring offered a healing repetition of her visit ; but 
the moments remained immovable. Eve would 
still be obstinately saying the Baws and really think- 
ing she knew which side she was on 

Wawkup and Poole Carey those were 

quotations as certainly as were Eve's newspaper 
ideas ; Wimpolc Street quotations. The thing was 
that Eve had learned to want to be always in the 


right and was not swift enough in gathering things 
not worldly enough. The train was rock- 
ing and swaying in its rush towards its first stop. 
After that the journey would seem only a few 
minutes, time passing more and more rapidly filled 
with the pressure of London coming nearer and 
nearer. But the junction was still a good way 

" No. It's nothing of that kind. All Russian 
students are like that. They have everything in 
common. On the inside of the paper he had 
written it will be unfriendly if it should occur to 
you to feel any sentiment of resentment. What 
could I do ? Oh yes they would. A Russian would 
think nothing of spending two pounds on chocolate 
if he wanted to. They live on bread too, nothing 
but bread and tea, some of them, for the sake of 
being able to work. What I can't make him see is 
that although I am earning my living and he is not, 
he is preparing to earn a much more solid living 
than I ever shall. He says he is ashamed to be doing 
nothing while I am already independent. The next 
moment he is indignant that I have not enough for 
clothes and food ; I have to be absolutely rude to 
make him let me pay for myself at restaurants. 
When I say it is worth it and I have enough much 
more than thousands of women workers he is silent 
with indignation. Then when I say that what is 
really wrong is that I have been cheated of my 
student period and ought to be living on somebody 
as a student, he says, pairhaps, but you are in life, 
that is the more important. 

" All right, I will ask him. Poor Httle man. He 


has spent his Christmas at Tansley Street. He would 
adore Elspeth ; although she Is not a ' beef-steak.' 
He says there are no children in Europe finer than 
English children, and will stop suddenly in the 
middle of a serious conversation to say look, look ; 
but that is a real English beef-steak." 

Harry had partly understood. But she still clung 
to her private thoughts. Meeting him to-day would 
not be quite the same as before she had mentioned 
him to anyone. Summoning his familiar form she 
felt that her talk had been treachery. Yet not 
to have mentioned him at all felt like treachery 

" There's quite an interesting Russian at Tansley 
Street now." That meant simply nothing at all. 
. . . Christmas had been an interruption . . . Per- 
haps something would have happened in his first 
days of London without her. Perhaps he would not 
appear this evening. 

Back at her work at Wimpole Street she forgot 
everything in a sudden glad realisation of the turn 
of the year. The sky was bright above the grey wall 
opposite her window. Soon there would be bright 
light in it at five o'clock, daylight remaining to walk 
home in, then at six, and she would see once more 
for another year the light of the sun on the green 
of the park. The alley of crocuses would come 
again, then daffodils in the grass and the green of 
the on-coming blue-bells. Her table was littered 
with newly paid accounts, enough to occupy her pen 
for the short afternoon with pleasant writing, the 
reward of the late evenings spent before Christmas 
in hurrying out overdue statements, and the easy 


prelude to next week's crowded work on the yearly 
balance sheets. She sat stamping and signing, and 
writing picturesque addresses, her eyes dwelling all 
the while in contemplation of the gift of the out- 
spread year. The patients were few and no calls 
came from the surgeries. Tea came up while she 
still felt newly-arrived from the outside world, and 
the outspread scenes in her mind were gleaming 
still with fresh high colour in bright light, but the 
last receipt was signed, and a pile of envelopes lay 
ready for the post. 

She welcomed the sound of Mrs. Orly's voice, 
tired and animated at the front door, and rose 
gladly as she came into the room with little bright 
broken incoherent phrases, and the bright deep 
unwearied dauntless look of welcome in her little 
tired face. She was swept into the den and kept 
there for a prolonged tea-time, being questioned in 
detail about her Christmas in Eve's shop, seeing 
Mrs. Orly's Christmas presents and presently 
moving in and out of groups of people she knew 
only by name. An extraordinary number of 
disasters had happened amongst them. She listened 
without surprise. Always all the year round 
these people seemed to live under the shadow 
of impending troubles. But Mrs. Orly's dolorous 
list made Christmas seem to be, for them, a time 
devoted to the happening of things that crashed 
down in their midst, dealing out life-long results. 
Mrs. Orly talked rapidly, satisfied with gestures of 
sympathy, but Miriam was conscious that her 
sympathy was not falling where it was demanded. 
She watched the family centres unmoved, her mind 


hovering over their imagined houses, looking regret- 
fully at the shattered whole, the views from their 
windows that belonged to the past and were 
suddenly strange as when they had first seen them ; 
passing on to their servants and friends and out- 
wards into their social life, following results as far 
as she could, the principal sufferers impressing her 
all the time in the likeness of people who suddenly 
make avoidable disturbances in the midst of a con- 
versation. Driven back, from the vast questioning 
silence at the end of her outward journey, to the 
centres of Mrs. Orly's pictures, she tried to dwell 
sympathetically with the stricken people and fled 
aghast before their inexorable circumstances. They 
were all so hemmed in, so closely grouped that they 
had no free edges, and were completely, publicly 
at the mercy of the things that happened. Every- 
one in social life was aware of this. Experienced 
people said " there is always something,^'' " a skeleton 

in every cupboard " But why did people 

get into cupboards ? Something or someone was 
to blame. In some way that pressed through the 
picture now in one form and now in another, just 
eluding expression in any single statement she could 
frame, these bright-looking lives, free of all that 
civilisation had to offer, were all to blame ; all 
facing the same way, unaware of anything but the 
life they lived among themselves, they made the 
shadow that hung over them all ; they invited its 

sudden descents She felt that her 

thoughts were cruel ; like an unprovoked blow, 
worthy of instant revenge by some invisible obser- 
vant third party ; but even while in the presence 


of Mrs. Orly's sympathy she accused herself of 
heartlessness and strove to retreat into a kindher 
outlook, she was aware, moving within her con- 
viction, of some dim shape of truth that no sym- 
pathy could veil. 

At six o'clock the front door closed behind her, 
shutting her out into the multitudinous pattering 
of heavy rain. With the sight of the familiar 
street shortened by darkness to a span lit faintly by 
dull rain-shrouded lamps, her years of daily setting 
forth into London came about her more clearly 
.than ever before as a single unbroken achievement. 
Jubilantly she reasserted, facing the invitation 
flowing towards her from single neighbourhoods 
standing complete and independent, in inexhaustibly 
various loveliness through the procession of night 
and day, linked by streets and by-ways living in her 
as mood and reverie, that to have the freedom of 
London was a life in itself. Incidents from Mrs. 
Orly's conversation pressing forward through her 
outcry, heightened her sense of freedom. If the 
sufferers were her own kindred, if disaster threatened 
herself, walking in London, she would pass into 
that strange familiar state, where all clamourings 
seemed unreal and on in the end into complete 

Two scenes flashed forth from the panorama 
beyond the darkness and while she glanced at the 
vagrants stretched asleep on the grass in the Hyde 
Park summer, carefully to be skirted and yet most 
dreadfully claiming her companionship, she saw, 
narrow and gaslit, the little unlocated street that 
had haunted her first London years, herself flitting 


into it, always unknowingly, from a maze of sur- 
rounding streets, feeling uneasy, recognising it, 
hurrying to pass its awful centre where she must 
read the name of a shop, and, dropped helplessly 
into the deepest pit of her memory, struggle on 
through thronging images threatening, each time 
more powerfully, to draw her willingly back and 
back through the intervening spaces of her life to 
some deserved destruction of mind and body, until 
presently she emerged faint and quivering, in a 
wide careless thoroughfare. She had forgotten it ; 
perhaps somehow learned to avoid it. Her imagined 
figure passed from the haunted scene, and from the 
vast spread of London the tide flowed through it, 
leaving it a daylit part of the whole, its spell broken 
and gone. She struggled with her stiffly opening 
umbrella, listening joyfully to the sound of the 
London rain. She asked nothing of life but to 

stay where she was, to go on London was 

her pillar of cloud and fire, undeserved, but un- 
solicited, life's free gift. In still exultation she 
heard her footsteps go down into the street and 
along the streaming pavement. The light from 
a lamp just ahead fell upon a figure, plunging in a 
swift diagonal across the muddy roadway towards 
her. He had come to meet her . . . invading her 
street. She fled exasperated, as she slackened her 
pace, before this postponement of her meeting 
with London, and silently drove him off, as he 
swept round to walk at her side, asking him how he 
dared unpermitted to bring himself, and the evening, 
and the evening mood, across her inviolable hour. 
His overcoat was grey with rain and as she glanced 


he was scanning her silence with that sHght quiver- 
ing of his features. Poor brave Httle lonely man. 
He had spent his Christmas at Tansley Street. 

" Well ? How was it ? " he said. He was a 
gaoler, shutting her in. 

" Oh it was all right." 

" Your sisters are well ? Ah I must tell you," his 
voice boomed confidently ahead into the darkness ; 
" while I waited I have seen two of your doctors." 

" They are not doctors." 

" I had an immensely good impression. I find 
them both most fine English types." 

" Hm ; they're absolutely English." She saw 
them coming out, singly, preoccupied, into their 
street. English. He standing under his lamp, a 
ramshackle foreigner whom they might have re- 
garded with suspicion, taking them in with a flash 
of his prepared experienced brown eye. 

" Abso-lutuUy. This unmistakable expression of 
humanity and fine sympathetic intelligence. Ah, 
it is fine." 

" I know. But they have very simple minds, 
they quote their opinions." 

" I do not say that you will find in the best 
English types a striking originality of mentality " he 
exclaimed reproachfully. Her attention pounced 
unwillingly upon the promised explanation of her 
own impressions, tired in advance at the prospect 
of travelling through his carefully pronounced 
sentences while the world she had come out to 
meet lay disregarded all about her. " But you 
will find what is perhaps more important, the 
characteristic features of your English civilisation." 


" I know. I can see that ; because I am neither 
EngHsh nor civihsed." 

" That is a nonsense. You are most EngUsh. 
No, but it is really most wonderful," his voice 
dropped again to reverence and she listened eagerly, 
" how in your best aristocracy and in the best types 
o£ professional men, your lawyers and clerics and 
men of science, is to be read so strikingly this 
history of your nation. There is a something 
common to them all that shines out, durchleuchtend, 
showing, sometimes, understand me, with almost 
a naivety, the centuries of your freedom. Ah it is 
not for nothing that the word gentleman comes 
from England." 

" I know, I know what you mean " said Miriam 
in contemplation, they were naive ; showing their 
thoughts, in sets, readable, with shapes and edges, 
but it was the Tories and clerics who had the 
roomiest, most sympathetic expressions, liberals 
and nonconformists had no thoughts at all, only 
ideas. Lawyers had no ideas even . . . 

" You would like my father ; he hasn't a scrap 
of originality, only that funny old-fashioned English 
quality from somewhere or other Heaven knows " 
. . . and they could play chess together ! . . . . 
" But lawyers are not gentlemen. They are per- 
fectly awful." 

" That is a prejudice. Your Enghsh law is the 
very basis of your P-nglish freedom." 

" They arc awful. The others look Christians. 
They don^t.^^ Fancy defending Christianity . . . 

" The thing you are seeing," she said, " is 
Christianity. I don't mean that there is anything 


in it ; but Christian ideas have made EngHsh 
civilisation ; that's what it is. But how can you say 
all these things when you believe we are grabbing 
diamond mines ? " Haw, what P Champagne and 
Grand pianos. Nice, jolly prejudiced simpletons ; 
not even able to imagine that England ought not to 
have everything there was to be had, everywhere. 
Quite right, better for everybody .... but . . . 
wir reiten, Pieter, reiten .... oh Lord . . . who 
was right ? 

" Stop a bit, stop a bit. Christianity will not 
explain. There are other Christian countries where 
there is no sign of this thing that is in England. 
No. The explanation is very simple. It is that 
you have had in England through a variety of 
causes, not the least of which is your Protestant 
Reformation, a relatively very rapid and unre- 
stricted secular development." 

" What about Germany and Holland ? " 
" Both quite different stories. There was in 
England a specially favourable gathering of cir- 
cumstances for rapid secularistic development." 

" Then if we have been made by our circumstances 
it is no credit to us." 

" I have not said anything about credit.''^ 
" But there are people now who think we are 
dying of the Reformation ; not the break with 
Rome ; but with Catholic history and tradition. 
No, wait a minute, it's interesting. They have 
discovered, proved^ that there was Christianity in 
Britain, and British Christian Churches, long 
before the Romans came. That means that we are 
as old, and as direct as Rome. The Pope is nothing 


but a Roman Bishop. I feel it is an immense 
relief, to know we go right back, ourselves ; when 
I think of it." 

" All these clericalisms are immaterial to /(/<?." 

" Then there were two Popes at one time, and 
there is the Greek church. I wonder Newman 
didn't think of that. Now he is one of your fine 
English types, although he looks scared, as if he had 
seen a ghost. If he had known about the early 
British church perhaps he would not have gone 
over to Rome." 

" I cannot follow all this. But what is indis- 
putable is, that in every case of rehgious authority, 
secular development has been held back. Buckle 
has completely demonstrated this in a most masterly 
exhaustive consideration of the civilisations of 
Europe. Ah it is marvellous, this book, one of your 
finest decorations ; and without any smallest touch 
of fanaticism ; he is indeed perhaps one of your 
greatest minds of the best English type, full of 
sensibility and fine gentleness." 

Miriam was back, as she listened, in the Chiswick 
villa, in bed in the yellow lamp-light with a cold, 
the pages of the Apologia reading themselves 
without effort into her molten mind, as untroubled 
beauty and happiness, making what Newman 
sought seem to be at home in herself, revealing 
deep inside life a whole new strange place of 
existence that was yet familiar, so that the gradual 
awful gathering of his trouble was a personal 
experience, and the moment of conviction that 
schism was a deliberate death, a personal con- 
viction. She wondered why she always forgot that 


the problem had been solved. Glancing beyond 
the curve of her umbrella she caught, with his last 
words, the sudden confident grateful shining of 
Mr. Shatov's lifted face and listened eagerly. 

" It is this one thing," she lifted the umbrella 
his way in sudden contrition, shifting it so that it 
sheltered neither of them ; " Thank you I am 
quite well. It is hardly now raining " he muttered 
at his utmost distance of foreign intonation and 
bearing. She peered out into the air, shutting her 
umbrella. They had come out of their way, away 
from the streets into a quietness. It must be 
the Inner Circle. They would have to walk right 
round it. 

" It is this one thing " again it was as if her own 
voice were speaking, " this thesis of the conditions 
of the development of peoples," Anglican priests 
married ; but not the highest high-Anglican. But 
they were always going over to Rome ..." that 
has made your Buckle so precious to the Russian 
intelligentsia. In England he is scarcely now read, 
though I have seen by the way his works in this 
splendid little edition of World Classics, the same 
as your Emerson, why did you take only Emerson ? 
There is a whole row, the most fascinating things." 

" My Emerson was given to me. I didn't know 
it came from anywhere in particular." 

" This Richards must be a most enlightened 
publisher. I should wish to possess all those 
volumes. The Buckle I will certainly take at once 
and you shall see. He is of course out of date in 
the matter of exact science and this is no doubt 
part reason why in England he is no more read. 


It is a great pity. His mind is perhaps greater than 
even your Darwin, certainly with a far wider 
philosophical range, and o£ far greater originality. 
What is wonderful is his actual anticipation, in idea, 
without researches, of a large part of what Darwin 
discovered more accidentally, as a result of his 
immense naturalistic researches." 

" Someone will discover some day that Darwin's 
conclusions were wrong, that he left out some 
Httle near obvious thing with big results, and his 
theory, which has worried thousands of people 
nearly to death, will turn out to be one of those 
everlasting mannish explanations of everything 
which explain nothing. I know what you are going 
to say ; a subsequent reversal of a doctrine does 
not invalidate scientific method. I know. But 
these everlasting theories, and men are so ' eminent ' 
and important about them, are appalling ; in 
medicine, it is simply appalling, and people are 
just as ill as ever ; and when they know Darwin was 
mistaken, there will be an end of Herbert Spencer. 
There's my father, really an intelligent man, he 
has done scientific research himself and knew 
Faraday, and he thinks First Principles the greatest 
book that was ever written. I have argued and 
argued but he says he is too old to change his 
cosmos. It makes mc simply ill to think of him 
living in a cosmos made by Herbert Spencer." 

" Wait. Excuse me but that is all too easy. In 
matter of science the conclusions of Darwin will 
never be displaced. It is as the alphabet of biology, 
as Galilei is of Astronomy. More. These re- 
searches even need not be made again. They are 


for all time verified. Herbert Spencer I agree 
has carried too far in too wholesale a manner 
conclusions based on Darwin's discoveries ; con- 
clusions may lead to many inapplicable theories, 
that is immaterial ; but Darwin himself made no 
such theories. There is no question of opinion as 
to his discoveries ; he supplies simply unanswerable 

" I think it's Huxley who makes me angry with 
Darwinism. He didn't find it out, and he went 
swaggering about using it as a weapon ; frightfully 
conceited about it. That Thomas Henry Huxley 
should come off best in an argument was quite as 
important to him as spreading the Darwinian 
theory. I never read anything like his accounts of 
his victories in his letters." 

" That is most certainly not the spirit of Darwin, 

who was a most gentle creature But you 

really surprise me in your attitude towards the 
profession of law." 

" I don't know anything whatever about laws ; 
but I have met lawyers, barristers and solicitors, 
and I think they are the most ignorant, pig-headed 
people in the world. They have no minds at all. 
They don't affect me. But if I were ever before a 
judge I should shoot him. They use cases to show 
off their silly wit, sitting thinking of puns ; and 
people are put to death." 

" You are in this matter both prejudiced and 
unjust, believe me. You cannot in any case make 
individuals responsible in this matter of capital 
punishment. That is for all humanity. I see you 
are like myself, a dreamer. But it is bad to let what 


might be, blind you to actuality. To the great 
actuahty, in this case, that in matters of justice 
between man and man England has certainly led the 
civilised world. In France, it is true, there is a 
certain special generosity towards certain types of 
provoked crime ; but France has not the large 
responsibilities of England. The idea of abstract 
justice, is stronger in England than anywhere. 
But what you do not see is that in confessing 
ignorance of your law you pay it the highest possible 
tribute. You do not know what individual liberty 
is because you know nothing of any other con- 
dition. Ah you cannot conceive what strangeness 
and wonder there is for a Russian in this spectacle 
of a people so free that they hold their freedom as 
a matter of course." 

Decked. Distinguished. Marked among the 
nations, for unconscious qualities. What is England ? 
What do the qualities mean ? 

" I'm not interested in laws. If I knew what 
they were I should like to break them. Trespassers 
will be prosecuted always makes me furious." 

" That is merely a technical by-law. That is 
just one of your funny English high-churchish- 

nesses this trespassers ah I must tell you 

I was just now in the Hyde Park. There was a 
meeting, ah it was indeed wonderful to me all 
these people freely gathered together ! There was 
some man addressing them, I could not hear, but 
suddenly a man near me on the outskirt of the 
crowd shouted in full voice " Chamberlain is a 
damned liar ! " Yes, but wait for your English 
laughter. That is not the whole. There was also 


quite near me, a very big John Bull bohhy. He 
turned to pass on, with a sviile. Ah that indeed 
for a Russian was a most zvonderjul spectacle." 

" We ought to be hurrying," said Miriam, 
burning with helpless pity and indignation, " you 
will be late for dinner." 

" That is true. Shall you not also take dinner ? 
Or if you prefer we can dine elsewhere. The air 
is most pure and lovely. We are in some Park ? " 

" Regent's Park" she said hastily, breathing in its 
whole circumference, her eyes passing, through the 
misty gloom, amongst daylit pictures of every part. 
He had not known even where he was ; completely 
foreign, a mind from an unknown world, obliviously 
at her side. A headlong urgency possessed her ; the 
coming back to London had not yet been ; perhaps 
this time she would miss it ; already she was tired 
with thought and speech. Incoherently improvising 
an appointment she hurried along, her mind set 
excitedly towards Tansley Street. There was 
always some new thing waiting there when she 
returned from an absence ; she could hear about it 
and get over her greetings and out for an hour by 
herself. She increased her pace until Mr. Shatov 
panted for breath as he plunged along by her side. 
The random remarks she made to cover her thoughts 
hurtled about in the darkness, stabbing her with 
vindictive unhelpful comments on her English 
stiffness, embarrassing her gait and increasing her 
angry fatigue. He responded in breathless shouts 
as if they were already in the crowded streets. 
They reached pavement, big houses loomed up 
out of the mist, the gates were just ahead. We had 


better rather at once take an omnibus, he shouted 
as they emerged into the Euston Road and a blue 
umbrella bus passed heavily by. She hurried for- 
ward to catch it at the corner. That goes only to 
Gower Street, thundered his following voice. She 
was in amongst the crowd at the corner and as 
again the bus lumbered off, inside it in the one 
remaining seat. 

In the dimly lit little interior, moving along 
through the backward flowing mist-screened street 
lights, she dropped away from the circling worlds 
of sound, and sat thoughtless gazing inward along 
the bright kaleidoscopic vistas that came unfailing 
and unchanged whenever she was moving, alone and 
still, against the moving tide of London. When the 
bus pulled up for a moment in a block, she searched 
the gloom-girt forms within her view. The blue 
light of the omnibus lamp lit up faces entangled in 
visible thoughts, unwillingly suffering the temporary 
suspension of activity, but in the far corner there 
was one, alive and aware, gazing untrammelled at 
visions like her own, making them true, the common 
possession of all who would be still. Why were 
these people only to be met in omnibuses and now 
and again walking sightless along crowded streets ? 
Perhaps in life they were always surrounded with 
people with whom they did not dare to be still. 
In speech that man would be a little defensive and 
cynical. He had a study, where he went to get 
away from everything, to work ; sometimes he 
only pretended to work. He did not guess that 
anyone outside books, certainly not any women 
anywhere .... the bus rumbled on again ; by 


the time it reached Gower Street she had passed 
through thoughtless ages. The brown house and 
her room in it called to her recreated. Once through 
the greetings awaiting her, she would be free 
upstairs amongst its populous lights and shadows ; 
perhaps get in unseen and keep her visions untouched 
through the evening. She would have an evening^s 
washing and ironing. Mr. Shatov would not 
expect her to-night. 

Mrs. Bailey, hurrying through the hall to dinner, 
came forward dropping bright quiet cries of welcome 
from the edge of her fullest mood of excited 
serenity, gently chiding Miriam's inbreaking ex- 
pectant unpreparedness with her mysterious gradual 
way of imparting bit by bit, so that it was impossible 
to remember how and when she had begun, the new 
thing ; Hngering silently at the end of her story to 
disarm objections before she turned and flitted, 
with a reassuring pleading backward smile, into her 
newly crowded dining-room. A moment later 
Miriam was in the drawing-room, swiftly consulting 
the profile of a tweed-clad form bent busily writing 
at the httle table under the gas. The man leapt 
up and faced her with a swift ironic bow, strode 
to the hearth-rug and began to speak. She re- 
mained rooted in the middle of the room amplifying 
her impression as his sentence went on, addressed 
not to her, though he occasionally flung a cold 
piercing glance her way, but to the whole room, in 
a high, narrowly-rounded, fluting tone as if he were 
speaking into a cornet. His head had gone up 
above the level of the brighter Hght but it looked 
even more greyish yellow than before, the sparse 


hair, the eyes, the abruptly branching moustache 
moving most remarkably with his fluting voice, the 
pale tw^eed suit, all one even yellowish grey, and his 
whole reared up, half soldierly form, at bay, as if 
the room were full of jeering voices. His long 
declamation contained all that Mrs. Bailey had 
said and told her also that the lecture was about 
Spanish literature. London was extraordinary. 
A Frenchman, suddenly giving a lecture in English 
on Spanish literature ; at the end of next week. 
He wound up his tremendous sentence by telling 
her that she was a secretary, and must excuse his 
urgency, that he required the services of an English 
secretary and would now, with her permission read 
the first part of the lecture that she might tell him 
whenever his intonation was at fault. That would 
be immensely interesting and easy she thought, and 
sat down on the music stool while he gathered up 
his sheaf of papers and explained that foreign 
intonation was the always neglected corner-stone 
of the mastery of a foreign tongue. 

In a moment he was back again on the hearth- 
rug, beginning his lecture in a tone that was such an 
exaggeration of his conversational voice, so high- 
pitched and whistlingly rounded, so extremely 
careful in enunciation that Miriam could hear 
nothing but a loud thin hooting, full of the echoes 
of the careful beginnings and endings of English 

The first sentence was much longer than his 
address to her and when it ended she did not know 
how or where to begin. But he had taken a step 
forward on the hearth-rug and begun another 


sentence, on a higher pitch, with a touch of anger 
in his voice. She checked a spasm of laughter and 
sat tense, trying to ignore the caricature of his 
style that gambolled in her mind. The sentence, 
even longer than the first, ended interrogatively 
with a fling of the head. It was tragic. She was 
quick, quicker than anyone she knew, in catching 
words or meanings through strange disguises. An 
audience would be either furious or hysterical. 

" You don't want to threaten your audience " 
she said very quietly in a low tone, hoping by con- 
trast to throw up his clamour. 

" I dew not threaten," he said with suave patience, 
" doubtless hew are misled. It is a great occasion ; 
and a great subject ; of hwich I am master ; in 
these circumstances a certain bravura is imperative. 
Hewdu not propose that I should ^/^^^ for Cervantes 
for example ? I will continue." 

The sentences grew in length, each one climbing, 
through a host of dependent clauses, small sharp 
hammer blows of angry assertion, and increasing 
in tone to a climax of defiance flung down from a 
height that left no further possibility but a descent 
to a level quiet deduction . . . and now dear 

brethren but the succeeding sentence 

came fresh to the attack, crouching, gathering up 
the fury of its forerunner, leaping forward, dipping 
through still longer dependent loops, accumulating, 
swelling and expanding to even greater emphasis 
and volume. She gave up all hope of gathering even 
the gist of the meaning ; he seemed to be saying 
one thing over and over again. You protest too 
much don't protest ; don't gesticulate 


the English don't gesticulate 

but he used no gesticulations ; he was aware ; that 
was a deliberate attempt to be English. But his 
whole person was a gesture, expanding, vibrating. 

" You mean by intonation only the intonation of 
single words, not of the whole ? " 

" Precisely. Correctness of accent and emphasis 
is my aim. But you imply a criticism " he fluted, 
unshaken by his storm. 

*' Yes. First you must not pronounce each word 
quite so carefully. It makes them echo into each 
other. Then of course if you want to be quite 
English you must be less emphatic." 

" I must assume an air of indifference ? " 

" An English audience will be more likely to 
understand if you are slower and more quiet. You 
ought to have gaps now and then." 

" Intervals for yawning. Yew shall indicate 
suitable moments. I see that I am fortunate to have 
met-hew. I will take lessons, for this lecture, in the 
true frigid English dignity." 

The door opened, admitting Mr. Shatov. 

" Mr. — a — Shatov ; will be so good ; as to grant 
five minutes ; for the conclusion of this interview." 
He walked forward bowing with each phrase, hiding 
the intruder and bowing him out of the room. The 
little dark figure reappeared punctually, and he 
rose with a snap of the fingers. " The English " he 
declaimed at large, " have an excellent phrase ; 
hwich says, time is money. This phrase, good 
though it is, might be improved. Time is let out 
on usury. So, for the present, I shall leave yew." 
He turned on the sweeping bow that accompanied 


his last word and stepped quickly with a curious 
stiff marching elegance down the room towards 
Mr. Shatov as though he did not see him, avoiding 
him at the last moment by a sharp curve. Outside 
the closed door he rattled the handle as if to make 
sure it was quite shut. 

Miriam sought intently for a definition of what had 
been in the room .... a strange echoing shadow 
of some real thing . . . there was something 
real . . . just behind the empty sound of him . . . 
somewhere in the rolled up manuscript so remark- 
ably in her hands, making a difference in the evening 
brought in by Mr. Shatov. Hunger and fatigue 
were assaihng her ; but the long rich day mounting 
up to an increasing sense of incessant life crowding 
upon her unsought, at her disposal, could not be 
snapped by retirement for a solitary meal. He 
walked quickly to the hearth-rug, bent forward and 
spat into the empty grate. 

" What is this fellow ? " 

She broke through her frozen astonishment, 
" I have just undertaken a perfectly frightful 
thing " she said, quivering with disgust. 

" I find him insufferable." 

" The French sing their language. It is like a 
recitative, the tone goes up and down and along 
and up and down again with its own expression ; 
the words have to fit the tune. They have no 
single abrupt words and phrases, the whole thing 
is a shape of tones. It's extraordinary. All somehow 
arranged ; in a pattern ; dift'erent patterns for the 
expression of the different emotions. In their 
English it makes the expression swallow up the 


words, a wind driving through them continuously 
. . . haison." 

" It is a musical tongue certainly." 

" That's it ; music. But the individual is not 
there ; because the tunes are all arranged for him 
and he sings them, according to rule. The Academy. 
The purity of the French language. I'm getting 
so interested." 

" I find this Lahitte a most pretentious fellow." 

" He is not in the least what I expected a French- 
man to be like. I can't understand his being so 

" What is it you have undertaken ? " 

He was suddenly grave and impressed by the 

idea of the lecture why would it be 

such good practice for her to read and correct it ? 

Her answer plunged him into thought from 
which he branched forth with sudden eagerness 
... a French translation of a Russian book 
revealing marvellously the interior, the self life, 
of a doctor, through his training and experience in 
practice. It would be a revelation to English 
readers and she should translate it ; in collaboration 
with him ; if she would excuse the intimate 
subjects it necessarily dealt with. He was off and 
back again with the book and reading rapidly while 
she still pondered his grave enthusiasm over her 
recent undertaking. In comparison with this idea of 
translating a book, it seemed nothing. But that was 
only one of his wild notions. It would take years 
of evenings of hard work. Meanwhile someone 
else would do it. They would work at it together. 
With Saturdays and Sundays it would not take so 


long it would set her standing within the 

foreign world she had touched at so many points 
during the last few years, and that had become, 
since the coming of Mr. Shatov, more and more 
clearly a continuation of the first beginnings at 

school alors un faible chuchotement se 

fit entendre au premier a I'entree de ce 

bassin, des arbres . . . . se fit entendre .... 
alors un faible chuchotement se fit entendre . . . 
all one word on one tone ... it must have been 
an extract from some dull mysterious story with an 
explanation or deliberately without an explanation ; 
then a faint whispering was audible on the first 
floor ; that was utterly different. It was the shape 
and sound of the sentences, without the meaning 
that was so wonderful — alors une faible parapluie 
se fit entendre au premier — Jan would scream, but 

it was just as wonderful there must be 

some meaning in having so passionately loved the 
little book without having known that it was 
selections from French prose ; in getting to Germany 
and finding there another world of beautiful 
shape and sound, apart from people and thoughts 
and things that happened . . . Durch die ganze 

lange Nacht, bis tief in den Morgen hinein 

it was opening again, drawing her in away from the 
tuneless shapeless — 

" Are you listening ? " 

" Yes, but it hasn't begun." 

" That is true. We can really omit all this 
introduction and at once begin." 

As the pages succeeded each other her hunger 
and fatigue changed to a fever of anxious attention. 


" Well ? Is not that a masterly analysis ? You 
see. That should be translated for your Wimpole 

" I don't know. We are not like that. It would 
never occur to an English doctor to write for the 
general public anything that could shake its con- 
fidence in doctors. Foreigners are different. They 
think nothing of revealing and discussing the 
most awful things. It's pessimism. They like 

" It is a serious mistake to regard enlightenment 
as pessimism." 

" I don't believe in Continental luminaries." 

" Your prejudices are at least frank." 

" I had forgotten the author was Russian. That 
idea of the rush of mixed subjects coming to the 
medical student too quickly one after the other 
for anything to be taken in, is awful, and perfectly 
true. Hosts of subjects, hosts of different theories 

about all of them ; no general ideas 

Doctors have to specialise when they are boys and 
they remain ignorant all their lives." 

" This is not only for doctors. You have touched 
the great problem of modern life. No man can, 
to-day, see over the whole field of knowledge. The 
great Leibnitz was the last to whom this was 

To be ignorant always, knowing one must die in 
ignorance. What was the use of going on ? Life 
looked endless. Suddenly it would seem short. 
" Wait till you're fifty and the years pass like 
weeks." You would begin to see clearly all round 
you the things you could never do. Never go to 


Japan. Already it was beginning. No college. 

No wander] ahre Translating books might 

lead to wander] ahre. 

" It's certainly a book that ought to be trans- 
lated." At least there could be no more '' Eminent 
men." There might always be someone at work 
somewhere who would suddenly knock him down 
like a ninepin. 

" Well you shall see. I will read you a passage 
from later, that you may judge whether you will 
care. I must tell you it deals of intimate matters. 
You must excuse." 

It was not only that he thought she might 
object. He also realised that the Enghsh reserves 
between them were being swept away. It was 
strange that a free Russian should have these 
sensibihties. He read his extract through, bringing 
it to a close in shaken tones, his features sensitively 

Everyone ought to know It ought to 

be shouted from the house-tops that a perfectly 
ordinary case leaves the patient sans connaissance 
et nageant dans le sang. 

" It's very interesting," she said hurriedly, " but 
in English it would be condemned as unsuitable 
for general reading." 

" I thought that possible." 

" The papers would solemnly say that it deals 
with subjects that are better veiled." 

" Indeed it is remarkable. John Bull is indeed 
the perfect ostrich." 

" Oh those men who write like that don't want 
them veiled from themselves,'''' 


" I will tell you more than that. The Paris 
pornographia lives on its English patrons." 

" Oh no ; I'm sure it doesn't." 

" On the contrary I assure you this is a fact. 
Any French bookseller will tell you. I see that 
this distresses you. It is not perhaps in every case 
so base as would appear. There is always even in 
quite deliberate French obscenity a certain esprit. 
These subjects lend themselves." 

" Oh they don't care about the esprit. It's 
because they think they are being improper. They 
like to be what they call men of the world, in 
possession of a fund of things they think can't 
be talked about ; you can see their silly thoughts 
by the way they glance at each other ; it's all about 
nothing. What is obscenity ? And the other half 
of them is ladies, who shout things by always care- 
fully avoiding them ; or, if they are " racey," 
flatter men's topics by laughing in a pretended 
hilarious embarrassment, hitting them as it were, 
and rushing on to something else, very animated 
by a becoming blush. I never realised that before. 
But that's the secret. What is obscenity ? " 

" You have touched a most interesting problem 
of psychology." 

" Besides Paris is full of Americans." 

" It is the same proposition. They are the 
cousins of the English." 

" I think the American * man of the world ' is 
much more objectionable. He is so horribly raw 
that he can't help boasting openly, and the American 
woman flatters him, openly. It's extraordinary. 
I^mean the kind of heavy-featured fat middle-nged 


American woman who doesn't smoke and thinks 
that voting would be unseemly for women. It 

used to make me simply ill with fury 

Dr. Bunyan Hopkinson's brother came over for 
July and August two years ago. He was appalling. 
With a bright fair beard, and a most frightful 
twang ; the worst I've ever heard. He used to 
talk incessantly, as if the whole table were waiting 
for his ideas. And knew everything, in the most 
awful superficial newspaper way. They have 
absolutely no souls at all. I never saw an American 
soul. The Canadians have. The Americans, at 
least the women, have reproachful ideals that they 
all agree about. So that they are all like one person ; 
all the same effect. But wasn't it screami?ig, Bunyan 
Hopkinson's brother was called Bacchus. Yes. 
Did you ever hear anything so screaming ? Isn't 
that enough ? Doesn't it explain everything ? 
He was a doctor too. He sat next to an elderly 
woman who was always scolding and preaching. 
She had an enormous American figure, and Guelph 
eyelids and Guelph cheeks coming down below 
her chin making great lengthways furrows on either 
side of it. But when Dr. Bacchus began to talk 
about Paris she would listen respectfully. He used 
always to be offering to show other men round 
Paris. There's no-one alive, he would say, can 
show me anything in Parrus night-life I've not seen. 
j4h, she would say, anyone can see you're a man of the 
worlds doctor. It spoils the very idea of those 
little cabarets and whatever awful haunts there 
may be in Paris to think of Americans there, seeing 


" They have certainly a most remarkable naivety." 

" I've to-day seen your Queen. She's just a 
vurry hoamely little old lady." 

" What ? What is that ? " 

" Then they were funny." She searched her 
memory to make him go on giggling. It was 
extraordinary too, to discover what impressions 
she had gathered without knowing it, never con- 
sidering or stating them to herself. He was getting 
them. If she ever stated them again they would 
be stale ; practised clever talk ; that was how talk 
was done . . . saying things over and over again to 
numbers of people, each time a little more brilliantly 
and the speaker a little more dead behind it. 
Nothing could be repeated. 

" That was the same year. Mrs. Bailey had a 
splendid August. Eighteen Americans. I used to 
go down to meals just to be in the midst of the noise. 
You never heard anything like it in your life. If 
you listened without trying to distinguish anything 
it was marvellous, in the bright sunshine at breakfast. 
It sent you up and up, into the sky, the morning 
stars singing together. No. I mean there was 
something really wonderful about it. It reminded 
me of the effect that almost comes when people 
decide to have a Dutch concert. You know. All 
singing different songs at the same time. It's 
always spoilt. People begin it prepared not to 
hear the whole effect. I did. I did not realise 
there would be a wonderful whole. And always 
just as the effect is beginning, two or three people 
break down because they cannot hold their songs, 
and some laugh because they are prepared only to 


laugh, and the unmusical people put their fingers to 
their ears, because they can never hear sound, 
never anything but a tune. Oh it would be so 
wonderful, if only it could be really held, everyone 
singing for all they were worth." 

" Have you heard that the Shah preferred of a 
whole concert, only the tuning of the orchestra ? " 

" I know. That's always supposed to be a joke. 
But the tuning of an orchestra, if there is enough 
of it at once, is wonderful. Why not both P It's 
the appalling way people have of liking only one 
thing. Liking ' good ' music and disapproving of 
waltzes. The Germans don't." 

" But when I thought of one of my sisters, I 
used to want to die. If she had been there we 
should both have yelled, without moving a muscle 
of our faces. Harriett is perfect for that. We 
learnt it in church. But when she used to twist all 
the fingers of her gloves into points, under the 
seat, and then show them to me suddenly, in the 
Litany " . . . . 

" What ? What Is this ? No. Tell me. You 
were very happy with your sisters." 

" That's all. She waggled them, suddenly." 

" A happy childhood is perhaps the woj^fortunate 
gift in life." 

" You don't know you're happy." 

" That is not the point. This early surrounding 
lingers and effects all the life." 

" It's not quite true that you don't know. Be- 
cause you know when you are quite young how 
desperately you love a place. The day we left our 
first home I remember putting marbles in my 


pocket in the nursery, not minding, only thinking 
I should take them out again by the sea^ and down- 
stairs in the garden I suddenly realised, the sun was 
shining on to the porch and bees swinging about 
amongst the roses, and I ran back and kissed the warm 
yellow stone of the house, sobbing most bitterly and 
knowing my life was at an end." 

" But you were six years old. That is what is 
important. You do not perhaps realise the extent 
of the remaining of this free life of garden and 
woods with you." 

" I know it is there. I often dream I am there 
and wake there, and for a few minutes I could draw 
the house, the peaked shapes of it, and the porches 
and french windows and the way the lawns went 
oif into the mysterious parts of the garden ; and 
I feel then as if going away were still to come, an 
awful thing that had never happened. Of course 
after the years in the small house by the sea, I 
don't remember the house, only the sea and the 
rocks, the house at Barnes grew in a way to be the 
same, but I never got over the suddenness of the 
end of the garden and always expected it to branch 
out into distances, every time I ran down it. I 

used to run up and down to make it more " 

He was no longer following with such an intcntness 
of interest. There ought to have been more about 
those first years. Now, no one would ever know 
what they had been 

" But you know, although nothing the Americans 
say is worth hearing, there is something wonderful 
about the way they go on. The way they all talk 
at once, nobody listening. It's because they all 


know what they are going to say and everyone wants 
to say it first. They used to talk in parties ; a 
set of people at one part of the table all screaming 
together towards a set at another part, and other 
people screaming across them at another set. The 
others began screaming back at once, endless 
questions, and if two sets had seen the same thing 
they all screamed together as soon as it was men- 
tioned. I never heard one person talking alone ; 
not in that August set. And there was one woman, 
a clergyman's wife, with a little pretty oval face and 
the most perfect muslin dresses which she did not 
appreciate, who used to begin as soon as she came 
in and go on right through the meal, filling up the 
gaps in her talk with gasps and exclamations. 
Whenever any place was mentioned she used to 
turn and put her hand over her husband's mouth 
till she had begun what she wanted to say, jumping 
up and down in her chair." 

" Is it possible P " 

" I know now why they all have such high 
piercing voices. It comes from talking in sets. 
But I always used to wonder what went on behind ; 
in their own minds." 

" Do not wonder. There is no arriere-boutique 
in these types. They are most simple." 

" They don't Hke us. They think we are frigid ; 
not cordial, is one of their phrases." 

" That is a most superficial judgment. Stay ! 
I have a splendid idea. We will leave for the 
present this large book. But why should you not 
immediately translate a story of Andrayeff ? They 
are quite short and most beautiful. You will find 


them unlike anything you have read. I have them 
here. We will at once read one." 

" I must go out ; it will soon be too late." 

" You have had no dinner ? Ach, that is 

monstrous. Why did you not tell me ? 

It is half eleven. There is yet time. We will go 
to my dumme August in the East-end." 

In her room, Miriam glanced at the magic pages, 
hungrily gathering German phrases, and all the 
way to Aldgate, sitting back exhausted in her 
corner she clung to them, resting in a ' stube ' with 
' Gebirge ' all round it in morning and evening 
light. When they reached their destination she 
had forgotten she was in London. But the station 
was so remote and unknown to her that it scarcely 
disturbed her detachment. The wide thoroughfare 
into which they emerged was still and serene 
within its darkness behind the spread veil of street 
sounds, filled with the pure sweet air of adventure. 
The restaurant across the road was a little square 
of approaching golden light. It was completely 
strange. There was a tang of coarse tobacco in 
the air, but not the usual restaurant smell. There 
were no marble-topped tables ; little square wooden- 
legged tables, with table-covers of red and blue 
chequered cotton ; pewter flagons, foreigners, 
Germans, sturdy confident Germans sitting about. 
It was Germany. 

" Well ? Is it not perfectly dumme August ? " 
whispered IVIr. Shatov as they took an empty 
corner table, commanding the whole room. There 
was a zvooden partition behind them, giving out 
life. Her fatigue left her. 


" Fiir mich ist es absolut als war ich in Hann- 

" At least here you shall have an honest meal. 
Kellner ! " 

She did not want to eat ; only to sit and hear the 
deep German voices all round her and take in, 
without observation, kindly German forms. 

" Simply you are too tired. We will have at 
least some strong soup and Lager." 

The familiar smooth savoury broth abolished 
the years since she had left Germany. Once more 
she was finding the genuine honest German quality 
reflected in the completeness of their food ; all 
of it even the bread, savoury and good through and 
through, satisfying in a way no English food was 
satisfying, making English food seem poor, ill- 
combined, either heavy and dull, or too exciting. 
She saw German kitchens, alles rein und sauber, 
blank poliert, large bony low-browed angry-voiced 
German servants in check dresses and blue aprons, 
everlastingly responsibly at work. 

And here was Lager, the Lager of the booming 
musical German cafes. She was sure she would 
not like it. He was taking for granted that she 
was accustomed to beer, and would not know that 
she was having a tremendous adventure. To him 
it did not seem either shocking or vulgar. Pro- 
tected by his unconsciousness she would get perhaps 
further than ever before into the secret of Germany. 
She took a small sip and shuddered. The foamy 
surface was pleasant ; but the strange biting 
bitterness behind it was like some sudden for- 
midable personal attack. 


" That is the first time I've tasted beer," she 
said, " I don't hke it." 

" You have not yet tasted it. You must swallow, 
not sip." 

" It makes your throat sore. It's so bitter. I 
always imagined beer was sweet." 

" There is perhaps something a little acid in this 
imported Lager ; but the bitterness is most good. 
It is this biting quality that is a most excellent 
aperatif. We will have also honey cakes." 

The light, not too sweet, porous crisp mealiness 
of the little cakes was German altogether. Mr. 
Shatov was whispering busily. She feared he 
would be heard. There was not much conversation 
in the room ; large deep solid sentences rever- 
berated through it with a sound of thoughtfulness, 
as though the speakers were preoccupied, like 
travellers, talking with their eyes turned inward 
upon their destination. All of them appeared 
serious and sober. 

" Just as wc crossed the frontier one big fat 
German roused up and said in an immense rolling 
voice. * Hier kann man wenigstens vernunftiges 
Bier haben ! ' " 

" Ssh ! They will hear." 

" What then ? They are here nearly all Jews." 

" Jews ? But they are nearly all fair ! " 

" There may be a few Germans. But many 
Jews are fair. But you have not told me what you 
think of this story." 

" Oh I can see the man and hear his voice " 

Nearly all the people in the room were dark. It 
was the man sitting near, with the large fresh fair 


German face who had made her imagine the room 
was full of Germans. But there were no hooked 
noses ; no one in the least like Shylock. What 
were Jews ? How did he know the room was full 
of them ? Why did the idea cast a chill on the 
things she had brought in with her ? She drew the 
little book from her pocket and took a long draught 
of Lager. It was still bitter, but the bitterness 
was only an astringent tang in the strange cool 
lively frothy tide ; a tingling warmth ran through 
her nerves, expanding to a golden glow that flowed 
through the room and held her alight within itself, 
an elastic impalpable bodiless mind. Mr. Shatov 
was sitting far away at her side, in his eyes a serene 
communion with his surroundings. It was not his 

usual restaurant manner ; it was strange 

pewter was right ; Lager was a bright tumult, 
frothing and flowing easily over the smooth dull 

Translating the phrases made them fall to pieces. 
She tried several renderings of a single phrase ; 
none of them would do ; the original phrase faded, 
and together with it just beyond her reach, the 
right English words. Scraps of conversation reached 
her from all over the room ; eloquent words, 
fashioned easily, without thought, a perfect flowing 
of understanding, to and fro, without obstruction. 
No heaven could be more marvellous. People 
talked incessantly because in silence they were 
ghosts. A single word sounded the secret of the 
universe there is a dead level of in- 
telligence throughout humanity. She listened in 
wonder whilst she explained aloud that she had 


learned most of her French by reading again and 
again for the sake of the long even rhythm of its 
sentences, one book ; that this was the only honest 
way to acquire a language. It was like a sea, each 
sentence a wave rolling in, rising till the light shone 
through its glistening crest, dropping, to give way 
to the next on-coming wave, the meaning gathering, 
accumulating, coming nearer with each rising 
falling rhythm ; each chapter a renewed tide, 
monotonously repeating throughout the book in 
every tone of light and shade the same burden, 
the secret of everything in the world. 

" I cannot appreciate these literary preciosities ; 
but I am quite sure that you are wrong in confining 
yourself to this one French book. This mystical 
philosophy is enervant. There are many French 
books you should read before this man. Balzac for 

She wanted to explain that she used to read novels 
but could not get interested in them after Emerson. 
They showed only one side of people, the outside ; 
if they showed them alone, it was only to explain 
what they felt about other people. Then he would 
say Levin, Levin. But she could not attend to all 
this. What she had meant to say in the beginning, 
she now explained, was that her German, neglected 
so long, grew smaller and smaller, whilst, most 
inconveniently, her reputation for knowing German 
grew larger and larger. Mr. Wilson might have 
said that 

"jThe Lager is doing you immensely much good." 

Speech did something to things ; set them in a 
mould that was apt to come up again; repeated, it 


would be dead ; but perhaps one need never 
repeat oneself ? To say the same things to different 
people would give them a sort of fresh life ; but 
there would be death in oneself as one spoke. 
Perhaps the same thing could be said over and over 
again, with other things with it, so that it had a 
different shape, sang a different song and laughed 
all round itself in amongst different things. 

Intoxication ... a permanent intoxication in 
and out amongst life, all the time with an in- 
creasing store of good ideas about things ; in time, 
about everything. A slight intoxication began it, 
niaking it possible to look at things from a distance, 
in separate wholes and make discoveries about 
them. It was being somewhere else, and suddenly 
looking up, out of completion, at distant things, 
that brought their meanings and the right words. 

" But you must at once finish. They are closing. 
It is now midnight." 

It did not matter. Nothing was at an end. 

Nothing would ever come to an end again 

She passed, talking emphatically, out into the wide 
dimly-lit sky-filled east-end street, and walked 
unconscious of fatigue, carrying Mr. Shatov along 
at his swiftest plunge, mile after mile, in a straight 
line westward along the opening avenue of her 
new permanent freedom from occasions. From 
detail to detail, snatched swiftly by the slenderest 
thread of coherence, she passed in easy emphatic 
talk, covering the bright endless prospect of her 
contemplation, her voice alive, thrilling with joyful 
gratitude, quivering now and again as it moved, 
possessed and controlled by the first faint dawning 


apprehension of some universal password, from one 
bright tumultuously branching thing to another, 
with a gratitude that poured itself out within her 
in a rain of tears. Mr. Shatov followed her swift 
migrations with solid responsive animation ; he 
seemed for the first time to find no single thing to 
object to or correct ; even restatement was absent, 
and presently he began to sing 

" It is a Russian song with words of Poushkin 
and music of Rubinstein. Ah but it requires 
Chaliapin. A most profound bass. There is 
nothing in singing so profoundly moving as pure 
basso ; you should hear him. He stands alone in 

The thronging golden multitudes moved to the 
tones of this great Russian voice, the deepest in 
the world, singing out across Europe from beyond 
Germany. With faltering steps, just begun, whilst 
now and for ever she passionately brooded on 
distant things, she was one of this elect shining 

army " wandering amongst the mountains, 

the highest notes if they leap up pure and free, in 
soprano, touch the sky." 

" That is true. But in concerts, the strength 
and most profound moving quality come from the 
bass. Ah you should hear a Russian male choir. 
There is not in Europe such strength and flexibility 
and most particularly such marvel of unanimity, 
making one single movement of phrase in all these 
many voices together. There is singing in the 
great Russian churches, all colourful and with 
a splendour of ornate decoration, singing that the 
most infidel could not hear unmoved." 


The Russian voice was melancholy poetry in 
itself ; somewhere within the shapely rough strength 
of the words, was a pleading tender melancholy. 

The Bloomsbury Squares were changed. It was 
like seeing them for the first time ; before they 
had taken hold ; and for the last time, for their 
spell was turning into memory. Already they were 
clearly seen backgrounds of which in the cold 
winter moonlight she could, as her feet, set in a 
pathway that spread throughout the world, swiftly 
measured them, coolly observe the varying pro- 
portions and character. Offence was removed 
from the tones of visitors who had in the past, in 
her dumb outraged presence, taken lightly upon 
their lips the sacred names. Within them the 
echo of her song mingled with the silent echoes of 
the footfalls and voices of these enchanted busy 



IT was not only that it was her own perhaps 
altogether ignorant and lazy and selfish way of 
reading everything so that she grasped only the 
sound and the character of the words and the 
arrangement of the sentences, and only sometimes 
a long time afterwards, and with once read books 
never, anything, except in books on philosophy, of 
the author's meaning .... but always the author ; 
in the first few lines ; and after that, wanting to 
change him and break up his shape or going about 

for days thinking everything in his shape 

It was that there was nothing there. If there 
had been anything, reading so attentively, such an 
odd subject as Spanish literature, she would have 
gathered some sort of vague impression. But in 
all the close pages of cramped cruel pointed hand- 
writing she had gleaned nothing at all. Not a 
single fact or idea ; only Mr. Lahitte ; a voice 

like an empty balloon The lecture was a 

fraud. He was. How far did he know this ? 
Thinking of the audience, those few who could 
learn quickly enough to follow his voice, waiting 
and waiting for something but strings of super- 
latives, the same ones again and again, until the 
large hall became a prison and the defiant yellow- 
grey form a tormenter, and their impatience and 



restlessness turned to hatred and despair, she pitied 
him. Perhaps he had not read Spanish hterature. 
But he must have consulted numbers of books about 
it, and that was much more than most people did. 
But what could she do ? She glanced at her little 
page of notes. . . . Break up sentences. Use 
participles instead of which. Vary adjectives. 
Have gaps and pauses here and there. Sometimes 
begin further off. What is picaresque ? They 
had been written enthusiastically, seeming like 
inspirations, in the first pages, before she had 
discovered the whole of the nothingness. Now 
they were only alterations that were not worth 
making ; helping an imposition and being paid 
for it 

Stopford Brooke . . . lecturing on Browning 
. . . blissful moonface with a fringe of white hair, 
talking and talking, like song and prayer and politics, 
the past and the present showing together. Browning 
at the centre of life and outside it all over the 
world, and seeing forward to the future. Perfect 
quotations, short and long, and the end with the 

long description of Pompilia rising and 

spreading and ceasing, not ending . . . standing 
out alive in the midst of a world still shaped by 
the same truths going on and on. " A marvellous 
piece of analysis." He had been waiting to say 
that to the other young man. 

Introduce their philosophies of life, if any, she 
wrote ; introduce quotations. But there was no 
time ; quotations would have to be translated. 
Nothing could be done. The disaster was com- 
pletely arranged. There was no responsibility. 


She gathered the accepted pages neatly together 
and began pencilling in improvements. 

The pencilled sentences made a 

pleasant wandering decoration. The earlier ones 
were forgotten and unfamiliar Re-read now, they 
surprised her. How had she thought of them ? 
She had not thought of them. She had been 
closely following something, and they had come, 
quietly, in the midst of engrossment ; but they 
were like a photograph, funny in their absurd 
likeness, set there side by side with the photograph 
of Mr. Lahitte. They were alive, gravely, after 
the manner of her graver self. It was a curious 
marvel, a revelation irrevocably put down, reflecting 

a certain sort of character more oneself 

than anything that could be done socially, together 
with others, and yet not herself at all, but some- 
thing mysterious, drawn uncalculatingly from some 
fund of common consent, part of a separate im- 
personal life she had now unconsciously confessed 
herself as sharing. She remained bent motionless 
in the attitude of writing, to discover the quality 
of her strange state. The morning was raw with 
dense fog ; at her Wimpole Street ledgers she would 
by this time have been cramped with cold ; but 
she felt warm and tingling with life as if she had 
been dancing, or for a long while in happy social 
contact ; yet so differently ; deeply and serenely 
alive and without the blank anxious looking for the 
continuance of social excitement. This something 
would continue, it was in herself, independently. 
It was as if there were someone with her in the 
room, peopling her solitude and bringing close 


around her all her past solitudes, as if it were their 
secret. They greeted her ; justified. Never 
again, so long as she could sit at work and lose 
herself to awake with the season forgotten and all 
the circumstances of her life coming back fresh 
leaping, as if narrated from the fascinating life of 
someone else, would they puzzle or reproach her. 

She drew her first page of general suggestions 
written so long ago that they already seemed to 
belong to some younger self, and copied them in 
ink. The sound of the pen shattered the silence 
like sudden speech. She listened entranced. The 
little strange sound was the living voice of the 
brooding presence. She copied each phrase in a 
shape that set them like a poem in the middle of 
the page, with even spaces between a wide uniform 
margin ; not quite in the middle ; the lower 
margin was wider than the upper ; the poem 
wanted another line. She turned to the manuscript 
listening intently to the voice of Mr. Lahitte 
pouring forth his sentences, and with a joyous rush 
penetrated the secret of its style. It was artificial. 
There was the last line of the poem summing up 
all the rest. Avoid, she wrote, searching ; some 
word was coming ; it was in her mind, muffled, 
almost clear ; avoid — it flashed through and away, 
just missed. She recalled sentences that had filled 
her with hopeless fury, examining them curiously, 
without anger. Avoid ornate alias. So that was 
it ! Just those few minutes glancing through the 
pages standing by the table while the patient 
talked about her jolly, noisy, healthy, thoroughly 
zvicked little kid, and now remembering every point 


he had made extraordinary. But this was 

Hfe ! These strange unconsciously noticed things, 
Hving on in one, coming together at the right 
moment, part of a reality. 

Rising from the table she found her room strange, 
the new room she had entered on the day of her 
arrival. She remembered drawing the cover from 
the table by the window and finding the ink-stains. 
There they were in the warm bright circle of mid- 
morning lamplight, showing between the scattered 
papers. The years that had passed were a single 
short interval leading to the restoration of that first 
moment. Everything they contained centred there ; 
her passage through them, the desperate graspings 
and droppings, had been a coming back. Nothing 
would matter now that the paper-scattered lamp- 
lit circle was established as the centre of life. Every- 
thing would be an everlastingly various joyful 
coming back. Held up by this secret place, drawing 
her energy from it, any sort of life would do that 
left this room and its little table free and untouched. 


THE spell of the ink-stained table had survived 
the night. Moving about, preparing for 
today, she turned continually towards the v^indow- 
space, as to an actual presence, and was answered 
by the rising within her of a tide of serenity, driving 
her forward in a stupor of confidence, impervious 
to strain and pain. It was as if she had entered a 
companionship that now spread like a shield between 
her and the life she had so far dealt with unaided . . . 

The week of working days, standing between 
her and next Sunday's opportunity, was a small 
space that would pass in a dream ; the scattered 
variously-developing interests of life outside Wim- 
pole Street changed, under her eyes, from separate 
bewildering competitively attractive scraps of life, 
to pleasantly related resources, permitted distrac- 
tions from an engrossment so secure that she 
could, without fear of loss, move away and for- 
get it. 

She felt eager to jest. Ranged with her friends 
she saw their view of her own perpetually halting 
scrupulousness and marvelled at their patient 
loyalty. She shared the exasperated intolerance 
of people who disliked her. ... It could be dis- 
armed .... by fresh, surprising handling. . . . 
Because, she asked herself scornfully as she opened 



the door to go downstairs, she had corrected Mr. 
Lahitte's unspeakable lecture ? No. Sitting over 

there, forgetting, she had let go and found 

something . . . and waking again had seen distant 
things in their right proportions. But leaving go, 
not going through life clenched, would mean losing 
oneself, passing through, not driving in, ceasing to 
affect and be affected. But the forgetfulness was 
itself a more real life, if it made life disappear and 
then show only as a manageable space and at last 

only as an indifferent distance a game to 

be played, or even not played It meant 

putting life and people second ; only entering life 
to come back again, always. This new joy of going 
into life, the new beauty, on everything, was the 
certainty of coming back. . . . 

She was forgetting something important to the 
day ; the little volume of stories for her coat 
pocket. Anxiety at her probable lateness tried to 
invade her as she made her hurried search. She 
beat it back and departed indifferently, shutting 
the door of a seedy room in a cheap boarding-house, 
neither hers nor another's, a lodger's passing abode, 
but holding a little table that was herself, alive with 
her life, and whose image sprang, set for the day, 
centrally into the background of her thoughts as she 
ran wondering if there were time for breakfast, 
down to the dining-room. St. Pancras clock struck 
nine as she poured out her tea. Mr. Shatov 
followed up his greeting with an immediate plunge 
into unfamiliar speech which she realized, in the 
midst of her wonderment over Mr. Lahitte's 
presence at early breakfast, was addressed to herself. 


She responded absently, standing at the tea-tray 
with her toast. 

" You do not take your fish ? Ah, it is a pity. It 
is true it has stood since half-nine." 

" Asseyez-vous, mademoiselle. I find ; the break- 
fast hour ; charming. At this hour one always is, or 
should be ; gay." 

" Mps ; if there is time ; yes, Sunday breakfast." 

" Still you are gay. That is good. We will not 
allow philosophy ; to darken ; these most happy 
few moments." 

" There are certain limits to cheerfulness," 
bellowed Mr. Shatov. They had had some mighty 
collision. She glanced round. 

" None ; within the purview of my modest 
intelligence ; none. Always would I rather be ; a 
cheerful coal-heaver ; than a philosopher who is 
learned, dull, and more depressing than the bise 
du nord." 

That was meant for Mr. Shatov ! The pale 
sensitive features were quivering in control .... 
her fury changed to joy as she leapt between them 
murmuring reflectively out across the table that 
she agreed, but had met many depressing coal- 
heavers and knew nothing about philosophers dull 
or otherwise. In the ensuing comfortable dead 
silence she wandered away marvelling at her elo- 
quence Cats said that sort of thing, with 

disarming smiles. Was that what was called 
sarcasm ? How fearfully funny. She had been 
sarcastic. To a Frenchman. Perhaps she had 
learned it from him. Mr. Shatov overtook her as 
she was getting on to a 'bus at the corner. 


" You do not go walkingly ? " he bellowed from 
the pavement. Poor little man ; left there with his 
day and his loneliness till six o'clock. 

" All right," she said, jumping off, " we'll walk. 
I'll be late. I don't mind." 

They swept quickly along, looking ahead in silence. 
Presently he began to sing. Miriam dropped her 
eyes to the pavement, listening. How unconsci- 
ously wise he was. How awful it would have been 
if she had gone on the omnibus. Here he was safe, 
healing and forgetting. There zvas some truth in the 
Frenchman's judgment. It wasn't that he was a 
dull philosopher. Lahitte was utterly incapable of 
measuring his big sunlit mind ; but there was 
something, in his manner, or bearing, something 
that many people would not like, an absence of 
gaiety ; it was true, the Frenchman's quick eye had 
fastened on it. Who wanted gaiety ? There was a 
deep joyfulness in his booming song that was more 
than gaiety. His rich dark vitality challenged the 
English air as he plunged along, beard first, without 
thoughts, his eyebrows raised in the effort of his 
eager singing. He was quite unaware that there 
was no room for singing more than below one's 
breath, however quickly one walked, in the Euston 
Road in the morning. 

She disposed herself to walk unconcernedly past 
the row of lounging overalled figures. Sullen 
hostile staring would not satisfy them this morning. 
The song would rouse them to some open demon- 
stration. They were endless ; muttering motion- 
lessly to each other in their immovable lounging. 
Surely he must feel them. " Go 'ome " she heard, 


away behind. ..." Blooming foreigner ; " close 
by, the tall lean swarthy fellow, with the handsome 
grubby face. That he must have heard. She 
fancied his song recoiled, and wheeled sharply back, 
confronting the speaker, who has just spat into the 
middle of the pavement. 

" Yes," she said, " he is a foreigner, and he is my 
friend. What do you mean P " The man's gazing 
face was broken up into embarrassed awkward 
youth. Mr. Shatov was safely ahead. She waited, 
her eyes on the black-rimmed expressionless blue of 
the eyes staring from above a rising flush. In a 
moment she would say, it is abominable and simply 
disgraceful, and sweep away and never come up this 
side of the road again. A little man was speaking at 
her side, his cap in his hand. They were all moving 
and staring. " Excuse me miss," he began again in 
a quiet, thick, hurrying voice, as she turned to him. 
" Miss, we know the sight of you going up and down. 
Miss he ain't good enough forya." 

" Oh " said Miriam, the sky falling about her. 
She lingered a moment speechless, looking at no one, 
sweeping over them a general disclaiming smile, 
hoping she told them how mistaken they all were 
and how nice she thought them, she hurried away 
to meet Mr. Shatov waiting a few yards off. The 
darlings. In all these years of invisible going up 
and down. . . 

" Well ? " he laughed, " what is this ? " 

" British workmen. I've been lecturing them." 

" On what ? " 

" In general. Telling them what I think." 

" Excellent. You will yet be a socialist." They 


walked on, to the sound of his resumed singing. 
Presently the turning into Wimpole Street was in 
sight. His singing must end. Dipping at a venture 
she stumbled upon material for his arrest. 

" It it nay-cessary ; deere bruthren ; " she intoned 
dismally in a clear interval " to obtain ; the 
m.Ahstery ; o-ver-the Vile ; bhuddy." 

" What ? What ? " he gurgled delightedly, 
slackening his pace. " Please say this once more." 

Summoning the forgotten figure, straining out 
over the edge of the pulpit she saw that there was 
more than the shape and sound of his abruptly 
ending whine. She saw the incident from Mr. 
Shatov's point of view and stood still to laugh his 
laugh ; but it was not her kind of joke. 

" It was in a University church, presided over by 
a man they all say has a European reputation ; it 
was in Lent ; this other man was a visitor, for Lent. 
That was the beginning of his sermon. He began at 
once, with a yell, flinging half out of the pulpit, the 
ugliest person I have ever seen." 

" Hoh," shouted Mr. Shatov from the midst of 
immense gusts of laughter, " that is a most supreme 
instance of unconscious ironic commentary. But 
really, please you shall say this to me once more." 

If she said, you know he was quite sincere, the 
story would be spoiled. This was the kind of story 
popular people told. To be amusing must mean 
always to be not quite truthful. But the sound. 
She was longing to hear it again. Turning to face 
the way they had come she gave herself up to 
howling the exhortation down the empty park- 
flanked vista. 


" It is a chef d'oeuvre," he sighed. 

He ought not to be here she irritably told her- 
self, emerging as they turned and took the few 
steps to her street, tired and scattered and hope- 
lessly late, into the forgotten chill of her day. It 
was all very well for him with his freedom and 
leisure to begin the first thing in the morning with 
things that belonged to the end of the day. . . . 
She took swift distracted leave of him at the corner 
and hurried along the length of the few houses to 
her destination. Turning remorsefully at the door- 
step to smile her farewell, she saw the hurrying 
form of Mr. Hancock crossing the road with grave 
appraising glance upon the strange figure bowing 
towards her bareheaded in the wind from the top 
of the street. He had seen her loitering, standing 
still, had heard her howls. Mercifully the door 
opened behind her, and she fled within .... the 
corner of the very street that made him, more than 
any other street, look foreign, and, in the distance, 

For days she read the first two stories in the little 
book, carrying it about with her, uneasy amongst 
her letters and ledgers unless it were in sight. The 
project of translation vanished in an entranced 
consideration at close quarters of some strange 
quality coming each time from the printed page. 
She could not seize or name it. Both stories were 
sad, with an unmitigated relentless sadness, casting 
a shadow over the spectacle of life. But some spell 
in their weaving, something abrupt and strangely 
alive, remaining alive, in the text, made a beauty 
that outlived the sadness. They were beautiful. 


English people would not think so. They would 
only see tragedy of a kind that did not occur in the 
society they knew. They would consider Andrayeff a 
morbid foreigner, and a liking for the stories an 
unhealthy pose. Very well. It was an unhealthy 
pose. The strange beauty in the well known 
sentences that yet were every time fresh and 
surprising, was an unshareable secret. Meanwhile 
the presence of the little book exorcised the every- 
day sense of the winding off of days in an elaborate 
unchanging circle of toil. 

To Michael Shatov she poured out incoherent 
enthusiasm. Translate, translate, he cried ; and 
when she assured him that no one would want 
to read, he said, each time, no matter ; this work 
will be good for you. But when at last suddenly in 
the middle of a busy morning, she began turning 
into rounded English words the thorny German 
text, she eluded his enquiries and hid the book and 
all signs of her work even from herself. Writing she 
forgot, and did not see the pages. The moment 
she saw them, there was a sort of half-shame in their 
exposure, even to the light of day. And always in 
transcribing them a sense of guilt. Not, she was 
sure, a conviction of mis-spending her employer's 
time. Had not they agreed in response to her 
graceless demands in the course of that first realisa- 
tion of the undevcloping nature of her employ- 
ments, that she should use chance intervals of 
leisure on work of her own ? But even abusing this 
privilege, writing sudden long absorbing letters in 
the best part of the morning with urgent business 
waiting all round her, had brought no feeling of 


guilt : only a bright enclosing sense of dissipation ; 
a sort of spreading, to be justified hy the shortness 
of her leisure, of its wild free quality over a part of 
the too-long day. It was in some way from the 
work itself that this strange gnawing accusation 
came, and as strangely, each time she had fairly 
begun, there came, driving out the sense of guilt, an 
overwhelming urgency ; as if she were running 
a race. 

Presently everything in her life existed only for 
the sake of the increasing bunch of pencilled half- 
sheets distributed between the leaves of her roomy 
blotter. She thanked her circumstances, into 
whose shape this secret adventure had stolen 
unobserved and sunk, leaving the surface unchanged, 
and finding, ready for its sustaining, an energy her 
daily work had never tapped, from the depth of 
her heart. In the evenings she put away the 
thought of her pages lest she could find herself 
speaking of them to Mr. Shatov. 

But they would arrive suddenly in her mind, 
thrilling her into animation, lighting up some 
remote part of her consciousness from which would 
come pell-mell, emphatic and incoherently eloquent, 
statements to which she listened eagerly, Mr. 
Shatov, too, reduced to a strangely silenced listener, 
and dropping presently off along some single side 
issue, she would be driven back by the sheer pain of 
the effort of contraction, and would impatiently 
bring the sitting to an end and seek solitude. It 
was as if she were confronted by some deeper 
convinced self who did, unknown to her, take sides 
on things, both sides, with equal emphasis, impar- 


tially, but with a passion that left her in an entrance- 
ment of longing to discover the secret of its nature. 
For the rest of the evening this strange self seemed 
to hover about her, holding her in a serenity 
undisturbed by reflection. 

Sometimes the memory of her work would leap 
out when a conversation was flagging, and lift her 
as she sat inert, to a distance whence the dulled 
expiring thread showed suddenly glowing, looping 
forward into an endless bright pattern interminably 
animated by the changing lights of fresh inflowing 
thoughts. During the engrossing incidents of her 
day's work she forgot them completely, but in every 
interval they were there ; or not there ; she had 
dreamed them. . . . 

With each fresh attack on the text, the sense of 
guilt grew stronger ; falling upon her the moment, 
having read the page of German, she set to work to 
apply the discoveries she had made. It was as if 
these discoveries were the winning, through some 
inborn trick of intelligence not her own by right of 
any process of application or of discipline, of an 
unfair advantage. She sought within her for a 
memory that might explain the acquisition of the 
right of escape into this life within, outside, 
securely away from, the life of everyday. The 
school memories that revived in her dealings with 
her sentences were the best, the most secret and the 
happiest, the strands where the struggle to acquire 
had been all a painless interested adventuring. The 
use of this strange faculty, so swift in discovery, so 
relentless in criticism, giving birth, as one by one the 
motley of truths urging its blind movements, came 


recognizably into view, to such a fascinating game 
of acceptance and fresh trial, produced in the long 
run when the full balance was struck, an overweight 
of joy bought without price. 

There was no longer unalleviated pain in the first 
attack on a fresh stretch of the text. The know- 
ledge that it could by three stages, laborious but 
unchanging and certain in their operation, reach a 
life of its own, the same in its whole effect, and yet 
in each detail so different to the original, radiated 
joy through the whole slow process. It was such a 
glad adventure, to get down on the page with a blunt 
stump of pencil in quivering swift thrilled fingers 
the whole unwieldy literal presentation, to con- 
template, plunging thus roughshod from language, 
to language, the strange lights shed in turn upon each, 
the revelation of mutually enclosed inexpandible 
meanings, insoluble antagonisms of thought and 
experience, flowing upon the surface of a stream 
where both were one ; to see, through the shapeless 
mass the approaching miracle of shape and meaning. 

The vast entertainment of this first headlong 
ramble down the page left an enlivenment with 
which to face the dark length of the second 
journey, its separate single efforts of concentration, 
the recurring conviction of the insuperability of 
barriers, the increasing list of discarded attempts, 
the intervals of hours of interruption, teased by 
problems that dissolved into meaninglessness, and 
emerged more than ever densely obstructive, the 
sudden almost ironically cheerful simultaneous 
arrival of several passable solutions ; the tempta- 
tion to use them, driven off by the wretchedness 


accompanying the experiment of placing them even 
in imagination upon the page, and at last the snap 
of relinquishment, the plunge down into oblivion 
of everything but the object of contemplation, 
perhaps ill-sustained and fruitful only of a fury of 
irritated exhaustion, postponing further effort, or 
through the entertaining distraction of a sudden 
irrelevant play of light, turned to an outbranching 
series of mental escapades, leading, on emergence, to 
a hurried scribbling, on fresh pages, of statements 
which proved when read later with clues and links 
forgotten, unintelligible ; but leading always, 
whether directly in one swift movement of seizure, 
or only at the end of protracted divings, to the 
return, with the shining fragment, whose safe 
placing within the text made the pages, gathered 
up in an energy flowing forward transformingly 
through the interval, towards the next opportunity 
of attack, electric within her hands. 

The serene third passage, the original banished in 
the comforting certainty that the whole of it was 
represented, the freedom to handle until the jagged 
parts were wrought into a pliable whole, relieved 
the pressure of the haunting sense of trespass, and 
when all was complete it vanished into peace and a 
strange unimpatient curiosity and interest. She 
read from an immense distance. The story was 
turned away from her towards people who were 
waiting to read and share what she felt as she read. 
It was no longer even partly hers ; yet the thing 
that held it together in its English dress was herself, 
it had her expression, as a portrait would have, so 
that by no one in her sight or within range of any 


chance meeting with herself might it ever be con- 
templated. And for herself it was changed. 
Coming between her and the immediate grasp of 
the text were stirring memories ; the history of her 
labour was written between the lines ; and strangely, 
moving within the whole, was the record of the 
months since Christmas. On every page a day or 
group of days. It was a diary. . . . Within it were 
incidents that for a while had dimmed the whole 
fabric to indifference. And passages stood out, 
recalling, together with the memory of overcoming 
their difficulty, the dissolution of annoyances, the 
surprised arrival on the far side of overwhelming 
angers. . . . 

The second story lay untouched, wrapt in its 
magic. Contemplating the way, with its difference, 
it enhanced the first and was enhanced by it, she 
longed to see the two side by side and found, while 
she hesitated before the slow scattering process of 
translation, a third that set her headlong at work 
towards the perfect finished group. There was no 
weariness in this second stretch of labour. Behind 
her lay the first story, a rampart, of achievement and 
promise, and ahead, calling her on, the one that 
was yet to be attempted, difficult and strange, a 
little thread of story upon a background of dark 
thoughts, like a voice heard through a storm. Even 
the heaviest parts of the afternoon could be used, 
in an engrossed forgetfulness of time and place. 
Time pressed. The year was widening and lifting 
too rapidly towards the heights of June when 
everything but the green world, fresh gleaming in 
parks and squares through the London swelter, 


sweeping with the tones of spring and summer 
mingled amongst the changing trees, towards 
September, would fade from her grasp and dis- 


" \1 7ELL. What did he say ? " 

V V " Oh, nothing ; he made a great oppor- 
tunity. He didn't like the stories." 

" Remarkable ! " 

" I did it all the wrong way. When I accepted 
their invitation I wrote that I was bringing down 
some translations of the loveliest short stories I had 
ever read." I was suddenly proud, in Lyons, of re- 
membering " short stories " and excited about 
having something written to show him at last. The 
sentence felt like an entry into their set. 

" If he did not agree with this I pity him." 

" I don't know how it would have been if I had 
said nothing at all." He might have said look here 
this is good stuff. You must do something with 

" I tell you again this man is superficial." 

" He said the sentiment was gross and that they 
were feeble in construction." Waiting, in the win- 
dow seat, with the large fresh light from the sea 
pouring in from behind across the soft clear buffs 
and greens of the room ; weaving for Alma, with 
the wonder of keeping him arrested, alone in his 
study, with his eyes on her written sentences, a view 
of the London life as eventful, enviable leisure ; the 
door opening at last, the swift compact entry of the 



little figure with the sheaf of manuscript, the sudden 
Hfting jubilance of the light ; the eager yielding to 
the temptation to enhance the achievement by a 
disclaiming explanation of the difficult circum- 
stances, the silencing minatory finger — wait, wait, 
you're taking it the wrong way — and at last the 
high-pitched, colourless, thinking voice in brief com- 
prehensive judgment ; the shattering of the bright 
scene, the end of the triumphant visit, with a day 
still to pass, going about branded as an admirer of 
poor stuff. 

" That is no opiniofi. It is simply a literary fines- 
sing. I will tell you more. This judgment indicates 
an immense blindness. There is in Andrayeff a 
directness and simplicity of feeling towards life that 
is entirely lacking in this man." 

" Mm. Perhaps the Russians are more simple ; 
less "... civilised. 

" Simplicity and directness of feeling does not 
necessarily indicate a less highly organised psycho- 
logical temperament." 

" I know what he meant. Andrayeff does try de- 
liberately to work on your feelings. I felt that when 
I was writing. But the pathos of those little boys 
and the man with the Chinese mask is his subject. 
What he does is artistic exaggeration. That is Art. 

Light and shade ; " a ' masterly study ' 

of a little boy . . . . ? 

" Very well then. What is the matter ? " 

" No, but I'm just thinking the whole trouble is 
that life is not pathetic. People don't feel pathetic ; 
or never altogether pathetic. There is something 
else ; that's the worst of novels, something that has 


to be left out. Tragedy ; curtain. But there never 
is a curtain and even if there were, the astounding 
thing is that there is anything to let down a curtain 
on ; so astomidhig that you can't feel really, com- 
pletely, things like " happiness " or " tragedy " ; 
they are both the same, a half-statement. Every- 
body is the same really, inside, under all circum- 
stances. There's a dead-level of astounding .... 

" I cannot follow you in all this. But you may 
not thus lightly deny tragedy." 

" He also said that the translation was as good as 

it could be." You've brought it off. That's 

the way a translation ought to be done. It's slick 
and clean and extraordinarily well Englished 

" Well ? Well ? Are you not satisfied ? " 

" Then he said in a contemptuous sort of way, 
' you could make from two to three hundred a year 
at this sort of thing.' " 

" But that is most excellent. You should most 
certainly try this." 

" I don't believe it. He says that kind of 

" He ought to know." 

" I don't know. He said in a large easy way you'd 
get seven or eight guineas apiece for these things, 
and then do 'em in a book." 

" Well ? " 

" Everybody would be doing it if it were so 

" You are really remarkable. A good translation 
is most rare ; and particularly a good English trans- 
lation. You have seen these Tolstoys. I have not 


met in German or French anything so vile. It is a 
whole base trade." 

" The public does not know. And if these things 
sell why should publishers pay for good translations ? 
It's like machine and hand-made embroidery. It 
does not pay to do good work. I've often heard 
translations are badly paid and I can quite under- 
stand it. It could be done in a factory at an im- 
mense pace." 

" You are right. I have known a group of poor 
Russian students translate a whole book in a single 
night. But you will not find cynical vulgarisation 
of literature anywhere but in England and America. 
It is indeed remarkable to the foreigner the way in 
this country the profession of letters has become a 
speculation. Never before I came here did I meet 
this idea of writing for a living, in this naive wide- 
spread form. There is something very bad in it." 
Miriam surveyed the green vista, thinking guiltily of 
her envy and admiration of the many young men 
she had met at the Wilsons' who were mysteriously 
" writing " or " going to write," of her surprise 
and disappointment in meeting here and there 

things they had written don't. Miss 

Henderson .... donH take up .... a journal- 
istic career on the strength of being able to write ; 
as badly as Jenkins. Editors — poor dears — are 
beleaguered^ by aspiring relatives. She thought out 
now, untrammelled by the distraction of listening 
to the way he formed his sentences, the meaning of 

these last words it spread a chill over the 

wide stretch of sunlit grass ; in the very moments 
that were passing, the writing world was going 


actively on, the clever people who had ideas and 
style and those others, determined, besieging, gradu- 
ally making themselves into writers, indistinguish- 
able by most readers, from the others, sharing, even 
during their dreadful beginnings, in the social dis- 
tinctions and privileges of " writers," and all of 
them, the clever ones and the others, quite un- 
troubled by any sense of guilt, and making, when 
they were all together, a social atmosphere that was, 
in spite of its scepticism, and its scorn of everyday 
life, easier to breathe than any other. But being 
burdened with a hesitating sense of guilt, unable to 
be really interested in the things clever people wrote 
about, being beguiled by gross sentimentality be- 
cause of its foreign dress and the fascination of 
transforming it, meant belonging outside the world 
of clever writers, tried in their balance and found 
wanting ; and cut off from the world of innocent 
unconscious determined aspirants by a mysterious 

It was mean to sit waiting for life to throw up 
things that would distract one for a while from the 
sense of emptiness. Sitting moving about from 
place to place, in the dress of the period. Being 
nowhere, one had no right even to the dress of the 
period. In the bottom of the lake .... hidden, 
and forgotten. Round the far-off lake were feathery 
green trees, not minding. She sat imagining their 
trunks, filmed over with the murk of London 
winters, but all the more beautiful now, standing 
out black amongst the clouds of green. There were 
trees in the distance ahead, trees, forgotten. She 
wasjiere to look at them. It was urgent, important. 


All this long time and she had never once looked. 
She lifted her eyes cautiously, without moving, to 
take in the wide belt beyond the stretch of grass. 
It was perfect. Full spring complete, prepared and 
set there, ungrudgingly, demanding nothing but 
love ; embanked between the sky and the grass, a 
dense perfect shape of various pure colour, an effect, 
that would pass ; but she had seen it. The sharp 
angle of its edge stood out against a farther, far-off 
belt of misty green, with here and there a dark 
maroon blot of copper beech. 

" Whatever happens, as long as one lives, there is 
the spring." 

" Do not be too sure of this." 

" Of course, if the world suddenly came to an 

" This appreciation of spring is merely a question 
of youth." 

" You can't be sure." 

" On the contrary. Do you imagine for instance 
that this old woman on the next seat feels the spring 
as you do ? " 

Miriam rose unable to look ; wishing she had 
come alone ; or had not spoken. The green vistas 
moved all about her, dazzling under the height of 
sky. " I'm perfectly sure I shall always feel the 
spring ; perhaps more and more." She escaped into 
irrelevant speech, hurrying along so that he should 
hear incompletely until she had firm hold of some 
far-oif topic ; dreading the sound of his voice. 

The flower-beds were in sight, gleaming in the 
gaps between the tree trunks along the broad walk 
.... ragged children were shouting and chasing 


each other round the fountain. " I must always 
here think " he said as they passed through the 
wicket gate " of this man who preaches for the con- 
version of infidels, Jews, Christians, and other un- 

She hurried on preparing to face the rows of 
Saturday afternoon people on the chairs and seats 
along the avenue, their suspicious English eyes on 
her scrappy, dowdy, out-of-date English self and 
her extraordinary looking foreigner. Her spirits 
lifted. But they must be walking quickly and talk- 
ing. The staring self-revealing faces must see that 
it was a privilege to have converse with anyone so 
utterly strange and far away from their English 

" I'm not interested in him " she said as they got 
into their stride. 

" Why not ? " 

" I don't know why. I can't fix my thoughts on 
him ; or any of these people who yell at crowds." 
Not quite that ; but it made a sentence and fitted 
with their walk. 

" It is perhaps that you are too individualistic," 
panted Mr. Shatov. There was no opening in this 
for an appearance of easy conversation ; the words 
were leaping and barking round her like dogs. 

But she turned swiftly leading the way down a 
winding side path and demanding angrily as soon as 
they were alone how it was possible to be too indi- 

" I agree to a certain extent that it is impossible. 
A man is first himself. But the peril is of being cut 
off from his fellow creatures." 


" Why feril P Men descend to meet. Are you 
a socialist ? Do you believe in the opinions of 
mediocre majorities ? " 

" Why this adjective ? Why mediocre ? No, I 
would call myself rather one who believes in the 

" What race ? The race is nothing without indi- 

" What is an individual without the race ? " 

" An individual, with a consciousness ; or a soul, 
whatever you like to call it. The race, apart from 
individuals is nothing at all." 

" You have introduced here several immense ques- 
tions. There is the question as to whether a human 
being isolated from his fellows would retain any 
human characteristics. Your great Buckle has con- 
sidered this in relation to the problem of heredity. 
But aside of this, has the race not a soul and an 
individuality ? Greater than that of its single 
parts ? " 

" Certainly not. The biggest thing a race does 
is to produce a few big individualities." 

" The biggest thing that the race does is that it 
goes on. Individuals perish." 

" You don't know that they do." 

" That is speculation ; without evidence. I have 
the most complete evidence that the race survives." 

" It may die, according to science." 

" That also is a speculation. But what is certain 
is — that the greatest individual is great only as he 
gives much to the race ; to his fellow creatures. 
Without this, individuality is pure-negative." 

" Individuality cannot be negative." 


" There speaks the Englishwoman. It is certainly 
England's highest attainment that the rights of the 
individual are sacred here. But even this is not com- 
plete. It is still impeded by class prejudice." 

" I haven't any class prejudice." 

" You are wrong ; believe me you have immensely 
these prejudices. I could quite easily prove this to 
you. You are in many ways most exceptionally for 
an Englishwoman emancipated. But you are still 

" That is only my stamp. I can't help that. But 
I myself have no prejudices." 

" They are so far in you unconscious." He spoke 
with extreme gentleness, and Miriam looked un- 
easily ahead, wondering whether with this strange 
knowledge at her side she might be passing forward 
to some fresh sense of things that would change the 
English world for her. English prejudices. He saw 
them as clearly as he saw that she was not beautiful. 
And gently, as if they were charming as well as 
funny to him. Their removal would come ; through 
a painless association. For a while she would remain 
as she was. But even seeing England from his point 
of view, was being changed ; a little. The past, up 
to the last few moments, was a life she had lived 
without knowing that it was a life lived in special 
circumstances and from certain points of view. 
Now, perhaps moving away from it, these circum- 
stances and points of view suddenly became a pos- 
session, full of fascinating interest. But she had 
lived blissfully. Something here and there in his 
talk threatened happiness. 

He seemed to see people only as members of 


nations, grouped together with all their circum- 
stances. Perhaps everything could be explained in 
this way. . . . All her meaning for him was her 
English heredity, a thing he seemed to think the 
finest luck in the world, and her free English en- 
vironment, the result of it ; things she had known 
nothing about till he came, smiling at her ignorance 
of them, and declaring the ignorance to be the best 
testimony .... that was it ; he gave her her 
nationality and surroundings, the fact of being 
England to him made everything easy. There was 
no need to do or be anything, individual. It was 
too easy. It must be demoralising .... just 
sitting there basking in being English. . . . Every- 
thing she did, everything that came to her in the 
outside world turned out to be demoralising .... 

too easy . . . some fraud in it But the pity she 

found herself suddenly feeling for all English people 
who had not intelligent foreign friends gave her 
courage to go on. Meanwhile there was an un- 
settled troublesome point. Something that could 
not be left. 

" Perhaps," she said, " I daresay. But at any rate, 
I have an open mind. Do you think that the race 
is sacred, and has purposes, super-man you know 
what I mean, Nietzsche, and that individuals are 
fitted up with the instincts that keep them going, 
just to blind them to the fact that they don't 
matter ? " 

"If one must use these terms, the race is certainly 
more sacred than the individual." 

" Very well then ; I know what I think. If the 
sacred race plays tricks on conscious human beings, 


using them for its own sacred purposes and giving 
them an unreal sense of mattering, I don't care a 
button for the race and I'd rather kill myself than 
serve its purposes. Besides, the instincts of self 
preservation, and reproduction are not the only 
human motives .... they are not human at 
all. . . ." 


THE picturesque building had been there, just 
round the corner, all these years, without 
once attracting her interested notice. The question 
she directed towards it, crossing the road for a 
nearer view, went forth, not from herself, but from 
the presence, close at her side, of Michael Shatov. 
During the hour spent in her room, facing the 
empty evening, she had been aware of nothing, out- 
side the startling disturbance of her own move- 
ments, but the immense silence he had left. Driven 
forth to walk away its hours out of doors, she found, 
accompanying her through the green-lit evening 
squares, the tones and gestures of his voice, the cer- 
tainty, that so long as she should frequent the 
neighbourhood, she would retain the sense of his 
companionship. The regions within her, of un- 
expressed thought and feeling, to which he had not 
reached, were at once all about her as she made her 
old, familiar, unimpeded escape through the front 
door, towards the blur of feathery green standing 
in the bright twilight at the end of the grey street ; 
but beyond these inner zones, restored in a tumult 
of triumphant assertion of their indestructibility, 
the outer difficult life of expression and association 
was changed. If, as she feared, he should finally 
disappear into the new world tov/ards which, with 


such urgent irritated determination, she had driven 
him, she would, for life, have reaped a small fund 
of his Russian courage and indifference. ... It v\^as 
with his impulse and interest, almost it seemed, 
actually in his person, that she drew up in front of 
the placard at the side of the strange low ecclesi- 
astical looking porch. But as she read its contents, 
he left her, sped into forget fulness hy the swift 
course of her amazement. She had come, leaving 
her room at exactly the right moment, directly, by 
appointment, to this spot. Glancing once more for 
perfect assurance, at the liberal invitation printed 
in large letters at the foot of the heavenly announce- 
ment, she went boldly into the porch. 

At the top of the shallow flight of grey stone 
steps up which she passed almost directly from the 
ecclesiastical doorway, a large black-draped figure, 
surmounted by the sweeping curves of an immense 
black hat voluminously swathed in a gauze veil of 
pale grey, stood bent towards a small woman stand- 
ing on the step below her in dingy indoor black. 
The large outline, standing generously out below 
the broad low stone archway curving above the 
steps, against the further grey stone of what 
appeared to be part of a low ceiled corridor, was in 
extraordinary contrast to the graciously bending, 
surrendered attitude of the figure. Passing close to 
the group, Miriam caught a glimpse of large plump 
features, bold eyebrows, and firm dark eyes. The 
whole face, imagined as unscreened, was rounded, 
simple and undistinguished ; blurred by the veil, 
it swam, without edges, a misty full moon. Through 
the veil came a voice that thrilled her as she moved 


on, led by a card bearing an arrowed instruction, 
down the grey stone corridor, with the desire for 
immediate^audible mimicry. The behaviour of the 
voice was a perfect confirmation of deHberate in- 
tentional blurring of the large face. The little 
scanty frugally upstanding woman who had appeared 
to be of the artisan class, was either a humorous 
brick, or a toady, or of the old-fashioned respectful 
servant type, to stand it. The superfluous statement 
might, at least, even if the voice had become second 
nature, she might be thirty, have been delivered at 
an ordinary conversational pace. But to make the 
unimportant comment in the deliberately refined 
distressed ladylike voice, with pauses, as if every 
word were a precious gift .... She was waiting 
for some occasion, keeping her manner going, and 
the little woman had to stand out the performance. 
On her way down the corridor she met a young 
man with a long neck above a low collar, walking 
like an undergraduate, with a rapid lope and a 
forward hen-like jerk of the head, but with kind 
religious looking eyes. Underneath his conforming 
manner and his English book and talk-found 
thoughts, he was acutely miserable, but never alone 
long enough to find it out ; never even long enough 
to feel his own impulses. Two girls came swiftly 
by, bare-headed, in reform dresses, talking eagerly 
in high-pitched out-turned cultured voices, their 
uncommunicating selves watchfully entrenched 
behind the polite Norman idiom. She carried on 
their manner of speech at lightning speed in her 
mind, watching its eifect upon everything it handled, 
of damming up, shaping, excluding all but ready- 


made thought and opinion. Just ahead was an 
arched doorway and a young man with a sheaf of 
pamphlets standing within it. " It may " she 
announced in character to an imaginary companion, 
" prove necessary to have some sort of conversa- 
tional interchange with this individual." Cer- 
tainly it left one better prepared for the interview 
than saying Good Lord shall we have to say some- 
thing to this creature ? She got safely through the 
doorway, exchanging a slight bow with the young 
man as he provided her with a syllabus, and entered 
a large lofty quietly-lit room, where a considerable 
audience sat facing a raised platform more brightly 
illuminated, and from which they were confronted 
by a row of seated forms. She went down the central 
gangway, bold in her desire for a perfect hearing 
and slipped into a seat in the second row of chairs. 
The chairman was taking his place and in the dying 
down of conversation she heard a quiet flurry of 
draperies approaching with delicate apologetic 
rhythm up the gangway. It was the tall young 
woman. She passed, a veiled figure with bent head 
and floating scarf, along the little passage between 
the front row of the audience and the fern-edged 
platform, upon which she presently emerged, 
taking her place next to a lady who now rose and 
came forward, tall and black robed, and whose 
face, sharply pointing beneath the shadow of a 
plumy hat, had the expression of an eagle searching 
the distance with calm piercing eyes. In rousing 
ringing grievous tones she begged to be allowed to 
precede the chairman with an important announce- 
ment. Miriam inwardly groaned as the voice chid 


tragically on, demanding a realisation on the part 
of all, of the meaning for London of the promised 
arrival in its midst of a world-famed authority in 
Greek letters. She felt the audience behind her 
quelled into absolute stillness, and took angry- 
refuge in the cover of her syllabus. " The Further- 
more Settlement " she read, printed boldly at the 
head of the page. It was one of those missions ; 
to bring culture amongst the London poor ..... 
" devoted young men from the Universities." Those 
girls in the corridor, wrapped in their code, were 
doing " settlement work." They did not look 
philanthropic. What they loved most was the 
building, the grey stone corridors and archways, 
and being away from home on a prolonged adventure, 
free to weave bright colours along the invisible 
edges of life. She could not imagine them ever 
becoming in the least like the elderly philanthropists 
on the platform. But they were not free. The 
place was a sort of monastery of culture. If they 
wore habits they would be free and deeply inspiring. 
But they went about dressed longingly in the 
colours of sunlit landscapes, and lived their social 
life with ideas. There was something monastic 
about the lofty hall, with its neutral tinted walls 
and high-placed windows. But the place was 
modern and well-ventilated, even sternly chilly. 
Turning on her shoulder to examine the dutiful 
audience, she was startled by its effect of massed 
intellectuality. These people were certainly not 
the poor of the neighbourhood. By far the larger 
number were men, and wherever she looked she met 
faces from which she turned quickly away lest she 


should smile her pleasure. Even those that were 
heavy with stoutness and beards had the same lit 
moving look of kindly adventurous thought. They 
were a picked gathering ; like the Royal Institution ; 
but more glowing. She turned back to the plat- 
form in high hope amidst the outburst of applause 
greeting the retirement of the distressful lady 
and deepening to enthusiasm as there emerged 
timidly from behind one of the large platform 
screens a tall figure in evening dress, a great grown- 
up boy, with a large fresh face and helpless straight 
hanging arms and hands. He sat big and fixed, like 
an idol, whilst the chairman standing bowing over 
his table hurriedly remarked that an introduction 
was superfluous, and gazed at the audience with large 
moist blue eyes that seemed permanently open 
and expressionless and yet to pray for protection, 
or permission to retreat once more behind his 
screen. Miriam pitied him from the bottom of her 
heart and saw with relief when he rose that he 
produced a roll of papers for which a little one- 
legged ecclesiastical reading desk was conveniently 
waiting. He was going to read. But he placed his 
papers with large incapable fingers and she feared 
they would flutter to the ground, till he turned and 
took one fumbling expressionless step clear of the 
little desk and standing just as he was, his arms 
hanging once more heavy and helpless at his side, 
his eyes motionlessly fixed neither on the distance 
nor on any part of the audience, as if sightlessly 
focussing everything before him, began, without 
movement, or warning gesture, to speak. With the 
first sound of his voice, Miriam surrendered herself 


to breathless listening. It sounded out, at conversa- 
tional pitch, with a colourless serenity that instantly 
explained his bearing, revealing him beyond the 
region either of diffidence or temerity. It wsls a 
voice speaking to no one, in a world emptied of 
everything that had gone before. 

" The progress of philosophy " went the words, 
in letters of gold across the dark void " is by a 
series of systems ; that of science by the constant 
addition of small facts to accumulated knowledge." 
In the slight pause Miriam held back from the 
thoughts flying out in all directions round the 
glowing words, they would come again, if she could 
memorise the words from which they were born, 
coolly, registering the shape and length of the 
phrases and the leading terms. Before the voice 
began again she had read and re-read many times ; 
driving back an exciting intruder trying, from the 
depths of her mind to engage her on the subject 
of the time-expanding swiftness of thought. 

" A system " pursued the voice " very generally 
corrects the fallacy of the preceding system, and 
leans perhaps in the opposite direction." She 
flushed warm beneath the pressure of her longing 

to remain cool " Thus the movements 

of philosophic thought may be compared to the 
efforts of a drunken man to reach his home." The 
blue eyes remained unaltered, while the large 
fresh face expanded with a smiling radiance. He 
was a darling. " He reels against the wall to his 
right and gains an impetus which sends him stagger- 
ing to the left and so on ; his progress being a 
series of zigzags. But in the end he gets home. 


And we may hope that philosophy will do the 
same, though the road seems at times unnecessarily 

He turned back to his papers, leaving his sentence 
on the air in an intense silence through which 
Miriam felt the eager expectancy of the audience 
flow and hang waiting, gathered towards the fresh 
centre whence, unless he suddenly vanished, would 
come, through the perfect medium of the un- 
obstructive voice, his utmost presentation of 
reasons for the tantalising hope. 

At the end of the lecture she sat hurriedly 
-sorting and re-sorting what she had gleaned ; aware 
that her attention had again and again wandered 
off with single statements that had appealed to her, 
longing to communicate with other members of the 
audience in the hope of filling up the gaps. Perhaps 
the questions would bring back some of the things 
she had missed. But no one seemed to have any- 
thing to ask. The relaxation of the hearty and 
prolonged applause had given way to the sort of 
silence that falls in a room after vociferous greet- 
ings, when the anticipated occasion vanishes and the 
gathered friends become suddenly unrecognisably 
small and dense. She looked at the woman at her 
side and caught a swift responsive glance that 
shocked her, clear blue and white and remote in 
limpid freshness though it was, with its chill 
understanding familiarity. Something had gone 
irrevocably from the evening and from herself. 
The strange woman was exactly like somebody 
.... a disguise of somebody. Shattering the 
silence came a voice from the back of the hall. " If 


the lecturer thinks, and seems to deprecate the 
fact, that theology deals with metaphysical problems 
in an unmetaphysical way, that is, from the point of 
view of metaphysic, in an unscientific way . . . ." 
compared to Dr. McHibbert's his voice was like the 
voice of an intoxicated man arguing to himself in 

a railway carriage " may we not say that 

when metaphysic takes upon itself to criticise the 
validity of scie?ttific conceptions, it does so, from the 
point of view of science in an unscientific way ? " 

This Miriam felt, was terribly unanswerable. 
But the hushed platform was alive with the stand- 
ing figure almost before the muffling of the last 
emphatic word told that the assailant had re- 
assumed his seat. 

" I think I have said " his face beaming with the 
repressed radiance of an invading smile, was lifted 
towards the audience, but the blue eyes modestly 
addressed the frill of green along the platform 
edge, " that metaphysic, with respect to some of 
the conceptions of science, while admitting that 
they have their uses for practical purposes, denies 
that they are exactly true. Theology does not 
deny the problems of metaphysic, but answers 
them in a way metaphysic cannot accept." 

" In that case Theology " began a rich, reverberat- 
ing clerical voice 

" This is ytggy boring " said the woman. 

He was going to claim, thought Miriam, noting 
the evidence of foreign intelligence in her neigh- 
bour's pronunciation, that religion, like meta- 
physic and science, had a right to its premises and 
denied that metaphysic was adequate for the study 


of the ultimate nature of reality, exactly as meta- 
physic denied that science was adequate. 

" Yes, isn't it " she murmured, a little late, 
through the deep caressing thunder of the clerical 
voice, wondering how far she had admitted her 
willingness to be at the disposal of anyone who 
found, in these tremendous onslaughts, nothing 
but irrelevance. 

" If one could peacefully fall asleep until the 
summing up." 

She spoke out quite clearly, moving so that she 
was half turned towards Miriam, and completely 
exposed to her, as she sat with an elbow on the back 
of her chair and her knees comfortably crossed, in all 
her slender grey-clad length, still set towards 
the centre of the platform. Miriam unwillingly 
searched her curious effect of making in the atmo- 
sphere about her, a cold, delicate, blue and white 
glare. She had seemed, all the evening, a well- 
dressed presence. But her little oval hat, entirely 
covered with a much washed piece of cream coloured 
lace and set back from her forehead at the angle of 
an old-fashioned flat lace cap, had not been bought 
at a shop, and the light grey garment so delicate in 
tone and expression, open at the neck, where creamy 
lace continued the effect of the hat, was nothing 
but a cheap rain-cloak. Either she was poor, and 
triumphing over her poverty with a laborious de- 
pressing ingenuity, or she was one of those people 
who deliberately do everything cheaply. There was 
something faintly horrible, Miriam felt, about the 
narrowness of her escape from dowdincss to dis- 
tinction Washable lace was the simplest 


possible solution of the London hat problem. 
No untravelled Englishwoman would have thought 

of it Behind the serenity of her smooth 

white brow, behind her cold wide clearly ringed 
sea-blue eyes, was the dominant intelligence of 
it all, the secret of the strange atmosphere, that 
enveloped her whole effect ; so strong and secure 
that it infected her words and movements with a 
faint robust delicate levity. In most women the 
sum of the tangible items would have produced 
the eye-wearying, eye-estranging pathos of the 
spectacle of patience fighting a lost battle, supplied 
so numerously all over London by women who 
were no longer young ; or at least a consciously 
resigned cheerfulness. But she sat there with the 
enviable cool clear radiant eyes of a child that is 
held still and unsmiling by the deep entrancement 
of its mirth. 

The chairman had risen and suddenly quelled the 
vast voice in the midst of its rising tide of tone, 
with the reminder that there would be opportunity 
for discussion a little later. A question rang out, 
short and sharp, exploding, as if released automati- 
cally by the renewal of stillness, so abruptly that 
Miriam missed its significance. The woman laughed 
instantly, a little clear tinkling gleeful sound, 
hesitatingly supported here and there amongst the 
forward rows of chairs by stirrings and small sounds 
of amusement. Miriam glowed with shame. It 
had been a common voice ; perhaps some lonely 
uninstructed man, struggling with problems that 
were as terrible to him as to anyone ; in the end 
desperately getting round them, by logical somcr- 


saults, so funny, that these habitually cultured 
minds could see only the absurdity. Her heart 
beat with gratitude as the lecturer, with gentle 
respectful gravity, paraphrased at some length 
an extract from the earlier part of his address. She 
was once more recalled by the voice at her side. 
Turning she found the unchanged face still set 
towards the platform. She answered the question 
in a low toneless voice that yet sounded more dis- 
turbing than the easy smooth conversational tone of 
her neighbour. She talked on, questioning and 
commenting, in neat inclusive phrases, and Miriam, 
turned towards her, reading the history of the duel 
of audience and lecturer in the flickerings across her 
face, of amusement or of scorn, responded freely, 
delighting in a converse that was more wonderful, 
with its background of cosmic discussion, than even 
the untrammelled exchange of confidences with a 
stranger on a bus. Presently there was a complete 

" If there are no more questions " said the chair- 
man, rising. 

" I should just like " broke in a ringing cheerful 
voice quite near at hand, " to ask Dr. McHibbert 
why if he considers that metaphysic is of no use in a 
man's life, he finds it worth while, to pursue such a 
fruitless study ? " 

" DofCt anszver " said the woman in clear pene- 
trating tones. 

" Don't answer ; don't answer," repeated in the 
immediate neighbourhood two or three masculine 
voices. The lecturer, sitting bent forward, his 
friendly open brow yielded up to the invading 


audience, his big hands clasped capaciously between 
his knees, sent a blue glance swiftly in her direction, 
hesitated a moment, and then sat silent, smiling 
broadly down at his clasped hands. 

" Isn't he a perfect darliiig^^'' murmured Miriam 
while the chairman declared the lecture open for 
discussion and she gathered herself together for 
close attention. 

" There will be nothing worth heahghing till 
he sums up " said her companion and went on to 
ask her if she meant to attend the next lecture. 
Miriam perceived that unless she chose to escape 
forcibly, her companion had her in a close net of 
conversation. She glanced and saw that her face was 
already that of a familiar associate, no longer 
spurring her to trace to its source the strange 
impression that at first it had given her of being a 
forgotten face, whose sudden return, unrecognisably 
disguised, and yet so recognisable, filled her with a 
remembered sentiment of dislike. 

" Rather " she said and then, watching the open- 
ing prospect of the long series of speeches, and 
protected by the monotonous booming of a 
pessimistic male voice " I'm so awfully relieved to 
find that science is only half true. But I caiCt 
see why he says that metaphysic is no practical use. 
It would make all the difference every moment, to 
know for certain that mind is more real than 

" Pahghfaitcmcnt." 

Dr. McHibbcrt's voice interrupted her, damming 
up the urgent flow of communications. She watched 
him, Hstcning without attention. 


" He's like a marvellously intelligent bolster " 
she said tonelessly " but with a heart and a soul. 
He certainly has a soul." 

Flattered by a soft chuckle of amusement, she 
added in a low murmuring man's voice " the 
objectors are like candle-lit turnip ghosts," and 
was rewarded by the first direct glance from the 
blue eyes, smiling, assuring her that she was accept- 
able. The ghost of the remembered face was laid. 
Whoever it was, if in reality it were to reappear in 
her life, she would be able to overcome her aversion 
by bold flirtation. 

- When the lecturer at last rose to reply, the guiding 
phrases of his discourse were the worn familiar keys 
of a past experience. Used for the second time 
at the doors of the chambers they had opened 
within the background of life, they grated, hesitat- 
ing, and the heavy sound threw the bright spaces 
into shadow and spread a film of doubt over Miriam's 
eagerness to escape and share her illumination with 
people waiting outside in the surrounding gloom. 
The light would return and remain for her. But 
it was something accomplished unaccountably. 
The mere reproduction of the magic phrases, even 
when after solitary peaceful contemplation she 
should have reassembled them in their right 
relations and their marvellously advancing sequence, 
would not carry her hearers along the road she had 
travelled. The something that held them together, 
lively and enlivening, was incommunicable. 

" Don't huggy away. The audience will take 
a considerable time to disperse." 

Miriam desired only to escape into the night. 


Just outside, in the darkness, was the balm that 
would disperse her disquietude. The grey-clad 
woman held it suspended in the hot room, piling 
mountainously up. But they sat enclosed, a closely 
locked party of two. Conversation was going on 
all over the room. This woman with her little 
deprecating frown at the idea of immediate 
departure, had the secret of the congregational 
aspect of audiences. Miriam sat still, passively 
surrendering to the forcible initiation into the new 
role of lingerer, to the extent of floundering through 
absent-minded responses. 

" What ? " she said suddenly, turning full round. 
Something had thrilled upon the air about her, 
bringing the whole evening to a head. 

" Haldane's Pathway to Reality " repeated the 
woman as their eyes met. Miriam was held by the 
intense radiance of the blue eyes. Light, strangely 
cool and pure, flowed from the still face. She was 
beautiful, with a curious impersonal glowless 
beauty. The light that came from her was the 
light of something she saw, habitually. 

" But I ought not to recommend you to read. 
You ought to spend all your free time in the open 
air. Moreover, it's very stiff reading." 

Miriam rose, beleaguered and flinching. How 
did people find out about books ? Where did they 
get them from ? This woman could not afford to 

buy big expensive volumes Why did her 

quick mind assume that the difficulty of the book 
would be a barrier, and not see that it was the one 
book she was waiting for, even if it were the stiffest 
and dryest in the world ? But the title 


was unforgettable ; one day she would come across 
the book somewhere and get at its meaning in her 
own way. 

" Well ; we may meet next week, if we are both 
early ; I shall be early." She rose enlivening her 
grey cloak with the swift grace of her movements 
and together they proceeded down the rapidly 
emptying room. 

" My name is Lucie Duclaux." 

The shock of this unexpected advance arrested 
Miriam's rapid flight towards the harbour of soli- 
tude. She smiled a formal acknowledgment, unable 
and entirely unwilling to identify herself with a 
name. Her companion, remaining close in her 
neighbourhood as they threaded their way amongst 
talking groups along the corridor, said nothing more, 
and when they reached the doorway Miriam's deter- 
mination to be free, kept her blind and dumb. She 
was aware of an exclamation about the rain. That 
was enough. She would not risk a parting intimate 
enough to suggest another meeting, with anyone 
who at the sight of rain, belaboured the air and the 
people about her, with an exclamation that was, 
however gracious and elegant, a deliberate assault, 
condemning her moreover of the possession of two 

voices Gathering up her Marie Duclaux 

cloak, the woman bowed swiftly and disappeared 
into the night. 

The girls had understood that the evening had 
been a vital experience. But they had sat far away, 
seeming to be more than ever enclosed in their 
attitude of tolerant amusement at her doings ; more 
than ever supporting each other in a manner that 


toki, with regard to herself, of some final unani- 
mous conclusion reached and decision taken, after 
much discussion, once for all. In the old days they 
would have thought nothing of her dropping in at 
eleven o'clock at night, with no reason but that of 
just dropping in. But now, their armoury of de- 
tached expectancy demanded always that she should 
supply some pretext. To-night, feeling that the 
pretext was theirs, everyone's, news too pressing to 
wait, she had rushed in unprepared, with something 
of her old certainty of welcome. It was so simple. 
It must be important to Jan that what Hegel meant 
was only just beginning to be understood. If Jan's 
acceptance of Hacckel made her sad, here was what 
she wanted ; even though McHibbert said that wc 
have no right to believe a theory because we could 

not be happy unless it were true All the 

same a theory that makes you miserable can't be 

altogether true Miserable ; not sorry. 

Everything depends upon the kind of man who sets 

up the theory Pessimists can find as good 

reasons as optimists but if the optimist is 

cheerful because he is healthy and the pessimist 
gloomy because . . . everything is a matter of tem- 
perament. Neither of them see that the fact of 
there being anything anywhere is more wonderful 

than any theory about the fact making 

optimists and pessimists look exactly alike 

then why was philosophy so fascinating ? 

" You will lose your colour, my child, and get 
protuberances on your brow." 

" What then ? " 

St. Pancras clock struck midnight as she reached 


home. The house was in darkness. She went noise- 
lessly up the first two flights and forward, welcomed, 
towards the blue glimmer of street lamps showing 
through the open drawing-room door. It was long 
since she had seen the room empty. His absence 
had restored it to her in its old shadowy character ; 
deep black shadows, and spaces of faint blue light 
that came in through the lace curtains, painting 
their patterned mesh on the sheen of the opposite 
walls. The old familiar presence was there in the 
hush of the night, dissolving the echoes of the day 
and promising, if she stayed long enough within it, 
the emergence of to-morrow, a picture, with long 
perspectives, seen suddenly in the distance, alone 
upon a bare wall. She stood still, moving rapidly 
into the neutral zone between the two days, further 
and further into the spaces of the darkness, until 
everything disappeared, and all days were far-off 
strident irrelevances, for ever unable to come be- 
tween her and the sound of the stillness and its 
touch, a cool breath, passing through her unimpeded. 

She could not remember whether she had first 
seen him rise or heard the deep tones coming out 
of the velvety darkness. 

" No, you did not startle me. I've been to a 
lecture," she said sinking in a sleep-like stupor into 
a chair drawn up beyond the light of the window, 
opposite his own, across which there struck a shaft 
of light falling, now that he was again seated, only 
on his face. Miriam gazed at him from within the 
sheltering darkness, fumbling sleepily for the way 
back to some lucid recovery of the event of her 


" Ah. It is a pity I could not be there." His 
words broke into the stillness, an immensity of com- 
munication, thrown forward through their unre- 
stricted sitting, in the darkness, where, to bridge, 
before to-morrow, the gap made by his evening's 
absence, he had waited for her. She sat silent, her 
days once more wound closely about her, an endless 
hospitable chain. 

" Tell me of this lecture." 

" Philosophy." 

" Tsa. It is indeed a pity." 

" It is a series "... are you sitting there already 
involved in engagements . . . cut off ; changed . . . 

" Excellent. I shall most certainly come." He 
was looking freely ahead. His evening had not in- 
terested him .... he had gone and come back, 
his horizons unenlarged .... but not seeing the 
impression he had made on those people ; the steps 
they would take. 

" It would be splendid for you. The lecturer's 
English wonder Jul. The way the close thought made 
his sentences, fascinated me so much, that I often 
missed the meaning in listening to the rhythm ; like 
a fugue." Aren't you glad you've enlarged your 
horizons ? Don't you know what people are . . . 
what you, a person, are to people ? Are you a 
person ? In a blankness, life streamed up in spirals, 
vanishing, leaving nothing .... 

" That is not bad. Ah I should not have paid 
this visit. It was also in some respects most painful 
to me." Poor little man, poor little lonely man 
white-faced and sensitive, in a world without indi- 
viduals ; grown and formed and wise without 


realising an individual ; never to realise. Audible 
within the darkness v^ras a singing, hovering on spaces 
of warm rosy light. 

" You must not regret your visit." 

" Regret no ; it was much as I anticipated. But 
it is disheartening, this actual witnessing." They 
were disposed of in some way ; in one piece ; he 
would have a formula. 

" What are they like ? " 

" Quite as I expected ; good simple people, kind 
and hospitable. I have been the whole evening 
there. Ah but it is sad for me this first meeting 
with English Jews." 

" Perhaps you can make Zionists of them." 

" That is absolutely impossible." 

" Did you talk to them about Zionism ? " 

" It is useless to talk to these people whose first 
pride is that they are British.''^ 

" But they're not:' 

" You should tell them so. They will tell you 
they are British of the Jewish persuasion. Ah it has 
revolted me to hear them talk of this war, the 
British Empire, and the subject races." 

" I know ; disgusting ; but very British. But the 
British Empire has done a good deal for the Jews 
and I suppose the Jews feel loyal." 

" That is true. But what they do not see is that 
they are not, and never can be, British; that the 
British do not accept them as such." 

" That's true I know ; the general attitude ; but 
there are no disabilities. The Jews are free in 

" They are free ; to the honour of England in all 


history. But they are nevertheless Jews and not 
Enghshmen. Those Jews who deny, or try to ignore 
this have ceased to be Jews without becoming 
Enghshmen. The toleration for Jews, moreover, 
will last only so long as the English remain in ignor- 
ance of the immense and increasing power and 
influence of the Jew in this country. Once that is 
generally recognised, even England will have its anti- 
semitic movement." 

''''N ever. England can assimilate anything. Look 
at the races that have been built into us in the past." 

" No nation can assimilate the Jew." 

" What about inter-marriages ? " 

" That is the minority." 

"If it was right to make a refuge for the Jews 
here it is still right and England will never regret 

" Believe me it is not so simple. Remember that 
British Jewry is perpetually and increasingly rein- 
forced by immigration from those countries where 
Jews are segregated and ever more terribly perse- 
cuted. At present there is England, both for the 
Jewish speculator and the refugee pauper. But for 
those who look at facts, the end of this possibility 
is in sight. The time for the closing of this last door 
is approaching." 

" I don't believe England will ever do it. How 
can they ? Where will the Jews go ? It's impossible 
to think of. It will be the end of England if we 
begin that sort of thing." 

" It may be the beginning of Jewish nationality. 
Ah at least this visit has reawakened all the Zionist 
in me." 


" It is a glorious idea." His evening had been 
eventful ; sending him back to the freshness of the 
days at Basel. It was then, she thought, at the 
moment he was bathed in the unceasing beauty of 
the surroundings, and immersed within it, in inex- 
tinguishable association with the students of the 
photographs, poised blissfully irresponsible in a per- 
manent boundless beguilement, himself the most 
untouched of all, the most smoothly rounded, and 
elastically surrendered with his deep-singing, child- 
like confident face, that he had been touched and 
shaped and sent forth ; his future set towards a 
single separate thing, the narrowest, strangest, most 
unknown of movements, far away from the wide 
European life that had flowed through his mind. 

" It is a dream, far-off. In England hardly even 
that." There was a blankness before him. Uncon- 
scious of his youth, and his radiating charm, distilled 
from the modern world ; Frenchman, Russian, 
philosophical German-brained, he sat there white- 
faced, an old old Jew, immeasurably old, cut off, 
alone with his conviction, facing the blank spaces 
of the future. Why could he not be content to be 
a European ? She swayed, dragging at the knot. In 
his deeply saturated intelligence there still was a 
balance on the side from which he had declared to 
his father, that he was first a man ; then a Jew. By 
the accidents of living, this might be cherished. 
The voices of the night cried out against the 
treachery. She glanced remorsefully across at him 
and recognised v/ith a sharp pang of pity, in his own 
eyes, the well-known eyes wide open towards the 
darkness where she sat invisible, the look he had 


described . . . wehmiitig ; in spite of his sheltered 
happy prosperous youth it was there ; he belonged 
to those milhons whose sufferings he had revealed to 
her, a shadow lying for ever across the bright un- 
seeing confidence of Europe, hopeless. And now, at 
this moment, standing out from their midst the 
strange beautiful Old Testament figure in modern 
clothes ; the fine beautifully moulded Hebrew head, 
so like his own 

" But it is extraordinary ; that just when every- 
thing is at its worst, this idea should have arisen. 

It's all very well for people to laugh at 


" Who is this man ? " 

" The man who is always waiting for something 
to turn up. Things do turn up, exactly at the right 
moment. It doesn't mean fatalism. I don't believe 
in laisser-aller as a principle ; but there is something 
in things, something the people who make plans and 
think they are thinking out everything in advance, 
don't know ; their oblivion of it, while they go 
busily on knowing exactly what they are going to do 
and why, even at picnics, is a terrible thing. And 
somehow they always fail." 

" They do not by any means always fail. In all 
concerted action there must be a plan. Herzl is 
certainly a man with a plan." 

" Yes but it's different ; his idea is his plan. It 
isn't clever. And now that it is here it seems so 
simple. Why was it never put forward before ? " 

" The greatest ideas are always simple ; though 
not in their resultants. This dream however, has 
always been present with Jews." 


" Of course. The Zionist Movement, coming 
now, when it is most wanted, is not altogether Herzl. 
It's that strange thing, the thing that makes you 
stare, in history. A sort of shape " 

" It is the collective pressure of life ; an unseen 
movement. But if you feel this what now becomes 
of your individualism ? Eh ? " He chuckled his 
delight .... passing so easily and leisurely to per- 
sonal things. 

" Oh the shape doesn't affect the individual^ in 
himself. There's something behind all those out- 
side things that goes on independently of them, 
something much more wonderful." 

" You are wrong. What you call the shape, 
affects most profoundly every individual in spite of 

" But he must be an individual to be affected at 
all, and no two people are affected in the same way 
after this evening I'm more of an indi- 
vidualist than before. It is relief to know that 
science is a smaller kind of truth than philosophy. 
The real difficulty is not between science and re- 
ligion at all, but between religion and fhiloso-phy. 
Philosophy seems to think science assumes too much 
to begin with and can never get any further than 

" Science can afford to smile at this." 

" And that religion is philosophically unsound, 
though modern religious controversy is meta- 

" All controversy depends from differences in 
estimation of term significations." 

" That's why arguments are so maddening ; even 


small discussions ; people go rushing on, getting 
angrier and angrier, talking about quite different 
things, especially men, because they never want to 
get at the truth, only to score a point." 

" You are unjust ; many men put truth before 
any other consideration whatsoever. It is not only 
unjust, it is most bad for you to hold this cynical 

" Well, men arguing always look like that to 
women. That's why women always go off at a 
tangent ; because they reply not to what men say 
but to what they mean, which is to score a foint, 
which anybody can do, with practice, and while they 
hold on to the point they mean to score, they are 
revealed, under all sorts of circumstances, all sorts 
of things about them are as plain as a pike-staff, to a 
woman, and the results of these things ; so that she 
suddenly finds herself saying something that sounds 
quite irrelevant, but isn't." 

" Nevertheless there is honourable controversy, 
and most fruitful." 

" There are people here and there with open 
minds. Very few." 

" The point is not the few, but that they arey 

" The few just men, who save the city." 

" Exactly." 

" But even existence is not quite certain." 

" What is this ? " 

" Descartes said, my existence is certain ; that is 
a fallacy." 

" If this is a fallacy for metaphysic, so much the 
worse for metaphysic." 

" That is argumentum ad hominen." 


" I am not afraid of it." 

" But what can you put in place of metaphysic ? " 

" Life is larger." 

" I know. I know. I know. Something exists. 
Metaphysic admits that. I nearly shouted when Dr. 
McHibbert said that. It's enough. It answers 
everything. Even to have seen it for a moment is 
enough. The first time I thought of it I nearly 
died of joy. Descartes should have said " I am 
aware that there is something, therefore I am." If 
I am, other people are ; but that does not seem to 
matter. That is their own affair." 

" Beware of solipsism." 

" I don't care what it is called. It is certainty. 
You must begin with the individual. There we are 
again." There was an end to the conversation that 
could not be shared. The words of it already 
formed, intangibly, waited, ready to disappear, 
until she should be alone and could read them on a 
clear background. If she stayed they would dis- 
appear irrevocably. She rose, bidding him a 
hurried good-night, suddenly aware of the busily 
sleeping household, friendly guardian of this wide 
leisurely night-life. He too was aware and grateful, 
picking his way cautiously through the shadows of 
the large room, sheltered from his loneliness, 
invisibly enclosed by the waiting incommunicable 
statement that yet left him, accusing him of wilful 
blindness, so cruelly outside. 

" Materialism " scribbled Miriam eagerly " has 
the recommendation of being a Monism, and there- 
fore a more perfect explanation of the universe than 


a Dualism can be And Matter forms one 

great whole, persisting through many ages. Mind 
appears in the form of separate individuals, isolated 
from each other by Matter, and each ceasing, so far 
as observation goes, after a very fev^ years. Also the 
changes which we can observe Mind to make in 
Matter are comparatively insignificant, while a very 
slight change in Matter will either destroy mind, or, 
at least, remove it from the only circumstances in 
which we can observe its existence. All these 
characteristics make matter appear much more 
powerful and important than mind." 

" I consider this a very strong reasoning " 
muttered Mr. Shatov. 

" Ssh. Wait." He was sitting intent, with an 
awakened youthful student's face, meeting, through 
her agency, in England, a first-class intelligence. 
He would hear the beautiful building up, strophe 
and antistrophe, of the apparently unassailable 
argument, the pause, and then, in the same shapely 
cadences, its complete destruction, for ever, the 
pleasant face smiling at the audience above the 
ruins, like a child who has just shattered a castle 
of bricks. 

" Idealism was weakened by being supposed to 
be bound up with certain theological doctrines which 
became discredited. All these things account for 
the great strength of materialism some years ago. 
There has been a reaction against this, but the 
extent of the reaction has been exaggerated." 

" Quite so." 

" Wait, wait." 

" It still remains the belief to which most people 


tend on first leaving an unreflecting position. And 
may remain there. Science is a large element in our 
lives now, and if we try to make science serve as 
metaphysic, we get materialism. Nor is it to be 
wished — even by idealists — that materialism should 
become too weak. For idealism is seldom really 
vigorous except in those who have had a serious 

struggle with materialism It would be 

very difiicult to disprove materialism, if we once 
accepted the reality of matter as a thing in itself. 
But, as we saw when considering dualism, such a 
reality of matter is untenable. And this conclusion 
is- obviously more fatal to materialism than it was to 
dualism. And again, if materialism is true, all our 
thoughts are produced by purely material ante- 
cedents. These are quite blind, and are just as 
likely to produce falsehood as truth. We have thus 
no reason for believing any of our conclusions — 
including the truth of materialism, which is there- 
fore a self-contradictory hypothesis." 

" I find this too easily stated.'' 

Then God is proved 

" You weren't here before. Philosophy is not 
difficult. It is common sense systematised and 
clarified." .... wayfaring men, though fools, 
shaU not err therein. It is not what people think 
but what they know. Thought is words. Philosophy 
will never find words to express life ; the philo- 
sopher is the same as the criminal ? 

" He seems to say spirit when he means /z/i?." 

" What is Hfe ? " 

" Moreover presentationism is incompatible with 
the truth of general propositions — and therefore 


with itself, since it can only be expressed by a 
general proposition. And closer analysis shows that 
it is incompatible even with particular propositions, 
since these involve both the union of two terms and 
the use of general ideas." People know this faintly 
when they say things ; not zuhy ; but faintly every- 
one knows that nothing can be said. Then why 
listen any more ? Because if you know, exactly, that 
nothing can be said and the expert reasons for it, 
you know for certain in times of weakness, how 
much there is that might be expressed if there were 

any way of expressing it But there was no 

need to listen any more since God was proved by 
the impossibility of his absence, like an invisible 
star. No one seemed at all disturbed ; the lecturer 
least of all. Perhaps he felt that the effects of real 
realisation would be so tremendous that he could 
not face them. The thought of no God made life 
simply silly. The thought of God made it em- 
barrassing. If a hand suddenly appeared writing on 
the wall, what would he do ? He would blush ; 
standing there as a competitor, fighting for his 
theories, amongst the theories of other men. Yet 
if there were no philosophers, if the world were 
imagined without philosophy, there would be 
nothing but theology, getting more and more 

Everybody was so calm. The calmness of insanity. 
Nobody quite all there. Yet intelligent. What 
were they all thinking about, wreathed in films of 
intelligent insanity ; watching the performance in 
the intervals of lives filled with words that meant 
nothing breath was more than words ; 


the fact of breathing . . . but everyone was in 
such a hurry. 

" I would ask "... one horrified glance 
revealed his profile quivering as he hesitated. 
A louder, confident, dictatorial English voice had 
rung out simultaneously from the other side of the 
hall. He would have to sit down, shaken by his 
brave attempt. But to the whole evening, the deep 
gentle tones had been added, welling through and 
beyond the Englishman's strident, neat proclama- 
tion, and containing, surely everyone must hear it, so 
much of the answer to the essential question. The 
chairman hesitated, turned decisively and the other 
man sat down. 

" What the lecturer makes of the psycho- 
physical paralellism ? " 

He drove home his question on a note of reproach- 
ful expostulation and sat down drawn together, 
with bent head and eye downcast, but listening 
intently with his serenely singing child's brow. 
Miriam was instantly sorry that his words had got 
through, their naked definiteness changing the 
eloquent tone, sharpening it to a weapon, a borrowed 

" That's it " she breathed, hoping the lecturer's 
answer would throw some light on the meaning of 
the fascinating phrase, floating before her, fresh 
from far-off philosophical battle-fields, bright from 
centuries of contemplation, flashing out now, to- 
day, in Europe triumphantly, in desperate en- 
counters. The lecturer was on his feet, gleaming 
towards their centre of the audience his recognition 
of the clean thrust. 


" The correlation between physical and mental 
gives an empirical support to materialism." That 
couldn^t be spirited away. The scientists swore there 
was no break ; so convincingly ; perhaps they 
would yet win and prove it. " But it is necessary to 
distinguish between metaphysic and psychology. 
Psychology, like physical science, is to be put to the 
score of our knowledge of matter." 

" In which he doesn't believe " scoffed Miriam, 
distractedly poised between Mr. Shatov's drama 
and the prospect opening within her mind. 

" I find this a most arbitrary statement." 

" Yes, rather " murmured Miriam emphatically, 
and waited for a moment as if travelling with him 
along his line of thought. But he was recovering, 
had recovered, did not seem to be dwelling or 
moving in any relation to what he had said, 
appeared to be disinterestedly listening to the 
next question. 

" Besides " she said, " the empirical method is a 
most important method, and jolly " 

" Poor chap ; what a stupidity is this question." 
Miriam smiled solicitously, but she had travelled 
back enraptured across nine years to the day, now 
only yesterday, of her first meeting with her newly 
recovered word. Jevons. From the first the 
sienna brown volume had been wonderful, the only 
one of the English books that had any connection 
with life ; and that day, Sunday afternoon prep in 
the dining-room, with the laburnum and pink may 
outside the window changing as she read from a 
tantalising reproach to a vivid encirclement of her 
being by all the spring scenes she had lived through. 


coming and going, the sight and scent and shimmer- 
ing movement of them, as if she moved, bodiless and 
expanded, about in their midst. Something about 
the singing, Hfting word appearing suddenly on the 
page, even before she had grasped its meaning, 
intensified the relation to life of the little hard 
motionless book, leaving it, when she had read on, 
centred round the one statement ; the rest remain- 
ing in shadow, interesting but in some strange way 

The recovery of the forgotten word at the centre 
of " the philosophical problems of the present 
day " cast a fresh glow of reality across her school- 
days. The efforts she had so blindly made, so 
indolently and prodigally sacrificing her chances of 
success in the last examination, to the few things 
that had made the world shine about her, had been 
in some way right, with a shapeliness and fruitful- 
ness of their own. Her struggles with Jevons had 

been bread cast upon the waters how 

differently the word now fell into her mind, with 
" intuition " happily at home there to keep it 
company. If materialism could be supported 
empirically, there was something in it, something in 

matter that had not yet been found out 

Meantime philosophy proved God. And Hegel had 
not brushed away the landscape. There was God 
and the landscape. 

" Materialism isn't dead yet " she heard herself 
say recklessly. 

" More. Chemistry will yet carry us further 
than this kind of metaphysical surmising." 

Taking part, even being with someone who took 


part in the proceedings, altered them. Some 
hidden chain of evidence was broken. Things no 
longer stood quietly in the air for acceptance or 
rejection. The memory of the evening would 
be a memory of social life, isolated revelations of 


WHEN they emerged from the dusty shabbi- 
ness of the Euston Road it was suddenly a 
perfect June morning. Now was the moment. She 
opened the letter unnoticed, with her eyes on the 

sunlit park-lined vista " London owes 

-much to the fact that its main thoroughfares run 
east and west ; walk westward in the morning down 
any one of them, or in the afternoon towards the 
east and whenever the sun shines you will see " 

and without arousing his attention 

hurriedly read the few lines. Was that man still 
in London, trying to explain it to himself, or had 
he been obliged to go away, or perhaps to die ? 
London is heaven and can't be explained. To be 
sent away is to be sent out of heaven. 

" I've been telling," useless words, coming thin 
and helpless out of darkness and pressing against 
darkness .... a desperate clutching at a borrowed 
performance to keep alive and keep on ... " my 
employers what I think of them just lately." 
" Excellent. What have you told ? " 
His unconscious voice steadied her ; as the dark- 
ness drove nearer bringing thoughts that must 
not arrive. The morning changed to a painted 
scene, from which she turned away, catching the 
glance of the leaves near-by, trickily painted, as 
Q 235 


she turned to steer the eloquence flowing up in 
her mind. 

" Well, it was a whole point of view I saw 
suddenly in the train coming back after Easter. 
I read an essay, about a superannuated clerk, an 
extraordinary thing, very simple and well written, 
not in the least like an essay. But there was some- 
thing in it that was horrible. The employers gave 
the old man a pension, with humorous benevo- 
lence. He is so surprised and so blissfully happy in 
having nothing to do but look at the green world 
for the rest of the time, that he feels nothing but 
gratitude. That's all right, from his point of view, 
being that sort of old man. But how dare the firm 
be humorously benevolent ? It is no case for 
humour. It is not funny that prosperous people can 
use up lives on small fixed salaries that never 
increase beyond a certain point, no matter how 
well the employers get on, even if for the last few 
years they give pensions. And they don't give 
pensions. If they do, they are thought most 
benevolent. The author, who is evidently in a way 
a thoughtful man, ought to have known this. He 
just wrote a thing that looks charming on the 
surface and is beautifully written and is really 
perfectly horrible and disgusting. Well, I suddenly 
thought employers ought to know. I don't know 
what can be done. / don't want a pension. I hate 
working for a salary as it is. But employers ought to 
know how fearfully unfair everything is. They 
ought to have their complacency smashed up." He 
was engrossed. His foreign intelligence sympa- 
thised. Then she was right. 


" Anyhow. The worst of it is that my em- 
ployers are so frightfully nice. But the principle's 
the same, the frightful unfairness. And it hap- 
pened that just before I went away, just as Mr. 
Hancock was going off for his holiday, he had been 
annoyed by one of his Mudie books going back 
before he had read it, and no others coming that 
were on his list, and he suddenly said to me in a 
grumbling tone ' you might keep an eye on my 
Mudie books.' I was simply furious. Because 
before I began looking after the books — ^which he 
had never asked me to do, and was quite my own 
-idea — it was simply a muddle. They all kept lists 
in a way, at least put down books when they hit 
upon one they thought they would like, and then 
sent the whole list in, and never kept a copy, and of 
course forgot what they'd put down. Well, I 
privately took to copying those lists and crossing 
off the books as they came and keeping on sending 
in the rest of the list again and again till they had 
all come. Well, I know a wise person would not 
have been in a rage and would meekly have rushed 
about keeping more of an eye than ever. But I 
can't stand unfairness. It was the principle of the 
thing. What made it worse was that for some time 
I have had the use of one of his books myself, his 
idea, and of course most kind. But it doesn't alter 
the principle. In the train I saw the whole unfair- 
ness of the life of employees. However hard they 
work, their lives don't alter or get any easier. They 
live cheap poor lives in anxiety all their best years 
and then are expected to be grateful for a pension, 
and generally get no pension. I've left off living in 


anxiety ; perhaps because I've forgotten how to 
have an imagination. But that is the principle and 
I came to the conclusion that no employers, however 
generous and nice, are entitled to the slightest special 
consideration. And I came back and practically 
said so. I told him that in future I would have 
nothing to do with his Mudie books. It was out- 
side my sphere. I also said all sorts of things that 
came into my head in the train, a whole long 
speech. About unfairness. And to prove my point 
to him individually I told him of things that were 
unfair to me and their other employees in the 
practice ; about the awfulness of having to be there 
first thing in the morning from the country after 
a week-end. They don't. They sail of? to their 
expensive week-ends without even saying good- 
bye, and without even thinking whether we can 
manage to have any sort of recreation at all on 
our salaries. I said that, and also that I objected 
to spend a large part of a busy Monday morning 
arranging the huge bunches of flowers he brought 
back from the country. That was not true. I 
loved those flowers and could always have some 
for my room ; but it was a frightful nuisance 
sometimes, and it came into the principle, and I 
wound up by saying that in future I would do only 
the work for the practice and no odd jobs of any 

" What was his reply ? " 

" Oh well, I've got the sack." 

" Are you serious " he said in a low frightened 
tone. The heavens were clear, ringing with morning 
joy ; from far away in the undisturbed future she 


looked back smiling upon the episode that lay before 
her growing and pressing. 

" I'm not serious. But they are. This is a 
solemn, awfully nice little note from Mr. Orly ; he 
had to write, because he's the senior partner, to 
inform me that he has come to the conclusion that 
I must seek a more congenial post. They have 
absolutely made up their minds. Because they 
know quite well I have no training for any other 
work, and no resources, and they would not have 
done this unless they were absolutely obliged." 

" Then you will be obliged to leave these gentle- 
'men ? " 

" Of course long before I had finished talking 
I was thinking about all sorts of other things ; and 
seeing all kinds of points of view that seemed to 
be stated all round us by people who were looking 
on. I always do when I talk to Mr. Hancock. 
His point of view is so clear-cut and so reasonable 
that it reveals all the things that hold social life 
together, and brings the ghosts of people who 
have believed and suffered for these things into 
the room, but also all kinds of other points of view. 
.... But I'm not going to leave. I can't. What 
else could I do ? Perhaps I will a little later on, 
when this is all over. But I'm not going to be 
dismissed in solemn dignity. It's too silly. That 
shows you how nice they are. I know that really 
I must leave. Anyone would say so. But that's 
the extraordinary thing ; I don't believe in those 
things ; solemn endings ; being led by the nose by 
the necessities of the situation. That may be 
undignified. But dignity is silly ; the back view. 


Already I can't believe all this solemnity has 
happened. It's simply a most fearful bother. 
They've managed it splendidly, waiting till Saturday 
morning, so that I shan't see any of them again. 
The Orlys will be gone away for a month when I get 
there to-day and Mr. Hancock is away for the week- 
end and I am offered a month's salary in lieu of 
notice, if I prefer it. I had forgotten all this 
machinery. They're perfectly in the right, but 

I'd forgotten the machinery I knew 

yesterday. They were all three shut up together 
in the den, talking in low tones, and presently 
came busily out, each so anxious to pass the dis- 
missed secretary in hurried preoccupation, that they 
collided in the doorway, and gave everything away 
to me by the affable excited way they apologised 
to each other. If I had turned and faced them 
then I should have said worse things than I had said 
to Mr. Hancock. I hated them, with their resources 
and their serenity, complacently pleased with each 
other because they had decided to smash an employee 
who had spoken out to them." 

" This was indeed a scene of remarkable signifi- 

" I don't know I once told Mr. Hancock 

that I would give notice every year, because I 
think it must be so horrible to dismiss anybody. 
But I'm not going to be sent away by machinery. 
In a way it is like a family suddenly going to law." 

But with the passing of the park and the coming 
of the tall houses on either side of the road, the 
open June morning was quenched. It retreated 
to balconies, flower-filled by shocked condemning 


people, prosperously turned away towards the 
world from which she was banished. Wimpole 
Street, Harley Street, Cavendish Square. The 
names sounded in her ears the appeal they had 
made when she was helplessly looking for work. 
It was as if she were still waiting to come 

Within the Saturday morning peace of the 
deserted house lingered the relief that had followed 
their definite decision. . They were all drawn 
together to begin again, renewed, freshly conscious 
of the stabilities of the practice ; their enclosed 
co-operating relationship 

She concentrated her mental gaze on their 
grouped personalities, sharing their long con- 
sultations, acting out in her mind with characteristic 
gesture and speech, the part each one had taken, 
confronting them one by one, in solitude, with a 
different version, holding on, breaking into their 
common-sense finalities. ... It was all nothing ; 

meaningless like things in history that led 

on to events that did not belong to them because 
nobody went below the surface of the way things 

appear to be joined together but are not 

but the words belonging to the underlying things 
were far away, only to be found in long silences, 
and sounding when they came out into conversa- 
tions, irrelevant, often illogical and self-contra- 
dictory, impossible to prove, driving absurdly 
across life towards things that seemed impossible, 

but were true there were two layers of 

truth. The truths laid bare by common-sense in 
swift decisive conversations, founded on apparent 
facts, were incomplete. They shaped the surface, 


made things go kaleidoscoping on, recognisable, in 
a sort of general busy prosperous agreement ; but 
at every turn, with every application of the common- 
sense civilised decisions, enormous things v^^ere left 
behind, unsuspected, forced underground, but never 

dying, slow things with slow slow fruit 

the surface shape was powerful, everyone was in it, 
that was where free-will broke down, in the moving 
on and being spirited away for another spell from 
the underlying things, but in everyone, alone, often 
unconsciously, was something, a real inside person- 
ality that was turned away from the surface. In 
front of everyone, away from the bridges and 
catchwords, was an invisible plank, that would 

bear always .... forgotten .... 

nearly all smiles were smiled from the bridges .... 
nearly all deaths were murders or suicides .... 

It would be such an awful labour in the 

long interval the strength for it would disappear. 
Thoughts must be kept away. Activities. The 
week-end would be a vacuum of tense determina- 
tion. That was the payment for headlong speech. 
Speech, thought-out speech, does nothing but 
destroy. There had been a moment of hesitation 
in the train, swamped by the illumination coming 
from the essay 

The morning's letters lay unopened on her table. 
Dreadful. Dealing with them would bring un- 
consciousness, acceptance of the situation would 
leap upon her unawares. She gathered them up con- 
versationally, summoning presences and the usual 
atmosphere of the working day, but was disarmed 
by the trembling of her hands. The letters were the 


last link. Merely touching them had opened the 
door to a withering pain. When the appointments 
were kept, she would no longer be in the house. 
The patients crowded through her mind ; in- 
dividuals groups, famihes, the whole fabric of social 
life richly unrolled day by day, for her contempla- 
tion ; spirited away. Each letter brought the 
sting of careless indifferent farewell. 

At the hall door James was whistHng for a 
hansom ; it was a dream picture, part of the week 
that was past. A hansom drew up, the abruptly 
reined-in horse sHpping and scrabbhng. Perhaps 
there was a patient hidden in Mr. Leyton's quiet 
sounding surgery. Once more she could watch a 
patient's departure; the bright oblong of street 

he was away for the week-end. There was 

no patient. It was a dream picture. Dream figures 
were coming downstairs. . . . Mrs. Orly, Mr. Orly, 
not yet gone ; coming hurriedly straight towards 
her. She rose without thought, calmly unoccupied, 
watching them come, one person, swiftly and 
gently. They stood about her, quite near ; silently 
radiating their kindliness. 

" I suppose we must say good-bye," said Mrs. 
Orly. In her sweet little sallow face not a shadow 
of reproach ; but lively bright sorrow, tears in her 

" I say, we're awfully sorry about this," said Mr. 
Orly gustily, shifting his poised bulk from one foot 
to the other. 

" So am I," said Miriam seeking for the things 
they were inviting her to say. She could only smile 
at them. 


" It is a pity," whispered Mrs. Orly. This was 
the Orlys ; the reality of them ; an English reality ; 
utterly unbusinesslike; with no codes but them- 
selves ; showing themselves ; without disguises of 
voice or manner, to a dismissed employee ; the 
quality of England ; old-fashioned. 

" I know." They both spoke together and then 
Mrs. Orly was saying " No, Ro can't bear strangers." 

" If you don't want me to go I shall stay," she 
murmured. But the sense of being already half 
reinstated was driven away by Mrs. Orly's unaltered 

" Ungrateful ? " The gustily panting tones were 
the remainder of the real anger he had felt, listening 
to Mr. Hancock's discourse. They had no grievance 
and they had misunderstood his. 

" No " she said coldly, " I don't think so." 

" Hang it all, excuse my language, but y'know 
he's done a good deal for ye." ' All expectation of 
gratitude is meanness and is continually punished 
by the total insensibility of the obliged person ' 

"we are lucky ; we ought to be grateful ; " 

meaning, to God. Then unlucky people ought to 
be ungrateful. . . . 

" Besides " the same gusty tone " it's as good as 
telling us we're not gentlemen ; y'see ? " The 
blue eyes flashed furiously. 

Then all her generalisations had been taken 
personally. ..." Oh well," she said helplessly. 

" We shall be late, laddie." 

" Surely that can be put right. I must talk to 
Mr. Hancock." 

" Well, to tell y'honestly I don't think y'll be 


able to do anything with Hancock." Mrs. Orly's 
distressed little face supported his opinion, and her 
surprising sudden little embrace and Mr. Orly's 
wringing handshake meant not only the enduring 
depths of their kindHness but their pained dismay 
in seeing her desolate and resourceless, their 
certainty that there was no hope. It threw a 
strong light. It would be difficult for him to 
withdraw ; perhaps impossible ; perhaps he had 

already engaged another secretary But she 

found that she had not watched them go away and 
was dealing steadily with the letters, with a blank 
mind upon which presently emerged the features 
of the coming week-end. 

" Well as I say " Miriam followed the linger- 
ing held-in cold vexation of the voice, privately 
prompting it with informal phrases fitting the 
picture she held, half-smiling, in her mind, of a 
moody, uncertain, door-slamming secretary, using 
the whole practice as material for personal musings, 
liable suddenly to break into long speeches of 
accusation. But if they were spoken, they would 
destroy the thing that was being given back to her, 
the thing that had made the atmosphere of the 
room. " It will be the most unbusinesslike thing 
I've ever done ; and I doubt very much whether 
it will answer." 

" Oh well. There's not any reason why it 
shouldn't." She smiled provisionally. It was not 
yet quite time to rise and feel life flowing about 
her in the familiar room, purged to a fresh 


austerity by the coming and passing of the storm. 
There was still a rankling, and glorious as it was to 
sit talking at leisure, the passing of time piled up 
the sense of ultimate things missing their oppor- 
tunity of getting said. She could not, with half 
her mind set towards the terms, promising a 
laborious future, of her resolution that he should 
never regret his unorthodoxy, find her way to them. 
And the moments as they passed gleamed too 
brightly with confirmation of the strange blind 
faith she had brought as sole preparation for the 
encounter, hovered with too quiet a benediction 
to be seized and used deliberately, without the 
pressure of the sudden inspiration for which they 
seemed to wait. 

" Well, as I say, that depends entirely on your- 
self. You must clearly understand that I expect 
you to fulfil all reasonable requests whether re- 
ferring to the practice or no, and moreover to 
fulfil them cheerfully.''^ 

" Well, of course I have no choice. But I can't 
promise to be cheerful ; that's impossible." An 
obstinate tightening of the grave face. 

" I think perhaps I might manage to be serene ; 
generally. I can't pretend to be cheerful." 
' Assume an air of cheerfulness, and presently you 
will be cheerful, in spite of yourself.' Awful. To 
live like that would be to miss suddenly finding the 
hidden something that would make you cheerful 
for ever. 

" Well as I say." 

" You see there's always the awful question of 
right and wrong mixed up with everything ; all 


sorts of rights and wrongs, in the simplest things. 
I can't think how people can go on so calmly. It 
sometimes seems to me as if everyone ought to stop 
and do quite other things. It's a nightmare, the 
way things go on. I want to stay here, and yet I 
often wonder whether I ought ; whether I ought to 
go on doing this kind of work." 

" Well as I say, I know quite well the work here 
leaves many of your capabilities unoccupied." 

" It's not that. I mean everything in general." 

" Well — if it is a question of right and wrong, I 
suppose the life here like any other, offers oppor- 
tunities for the exercise of the Christian virtues." 

Resignation ; virtues deliberately set forth every 
day like the wares in a little shop ; and the world 
going on outside just the same. A sort of sale of 
mean little virtues for respectability and a living ; 
the living coming by amiable co-operation with a 
world where everything was wrong, turning the 
little virtues into absurdity ; respectable absurdity. 
He did not think the practice of the Christian 
virtues in a vacuum was enough. But he had made 
a joke, and smiled his smile. . . . There was no 
answer anywhere in the world to the question he 
had raised. Did he remember saying why shouldn't 
you take up dentistry ? Soon it would be too late 
to make any change ; there was nothing to do now 
but to stay and justify things . . it would be 
impossible to be running about in a surgery with 
grey hair ; it would make the practice seem dowdy. 
All dental secretaries were young. . . . The work 
. . . nothing but the life all round it ; the existence 
of a shadow amidst shadows unaware of their 


shadowiness, keeping going a world where there 
were things, more than people. The people 
moved sunlit and prosperous, but not enviable, 
their secrets revealed at every turn, unaware them- 
selves, they made and left a space in which to be 
aware. . . . 

" I want to say that I think it is kind of you to 
let me air my grievances so thoroughly." 

" Well, as I say^ I feel extremely uncertain as 
to the advisability of this step." 

" You needn't " she said rising as he rose, and 
going buoyantly to move about in the neighbour- 
hood of the scattered results of his last operation, 
the symbols of her narrowly rescued continuity. 
She was not yet free to touch them. He was still, 
wandering about the other part of the room, 
lingering with thoughtful bent head in the mazes 
of her outrageous halting statements. But a good 
deal of his resentment had gone. It was something 
outside herself, something in the world at large, 
that had forced him to act against his " better 
judgment." He was still angry and feeling a little 
shorn, faced, in the very presence of the offender, 
with the necessity of disposing of the fact that he 
had been driven into inconsistency. 

Miriam drew a deep sigh, clearing her personal 
air of the burden of conflict. Was it an affront ? 
It had sounded to her like a song. His thoughts 
must be saying, well, there you are, it's all very 
well to throw it all off like that. His pose stiffened 
into a suggested animation with regard to work 
delayed. If only now there could be an opportunity 
for one of his humorous remarks so that she could 


laugh herself back into their indestructible im- 
personal relationship. It was, she thought, pro- 
phetically watching his gloriously inevitable re- 
covery, partly his unconscious resentment of the 
blow she had struck at their good understanding 
that had made him so repeatedly declare that if 
they started again it must be on a new footing ; 
that all possibility of spontaneity between them 
had been destroyed. 

How could it be, with the events of daily life 
perpetually building it afresh ? 


THE power of London to obliterate personal 
affairs depended upon unlimited freedom to 
be still. The worst suffering in the days of un- 
certainty had been the thought of movements that 

would make time move Now that the 

stillness had returned, life was going on, dancing, 
flowing, looping out in all directions able to bear 
its periods of torment in the strength of its certainty 
of recovery, so long as time stayed still. Life 
ceased when time moved on. Out in the world life 
was ceasing all the time. All the time people were 
helplessly doing things that made time move ; 
growing up, old people growing onwards, with 
death suddenly in sight, rushing here and there 
with words that had lost their meaning, dodging and 
crouching no matter how ridiculously, to avoid 
facing it. Young men died in advance ; it was 
visible in their faces, when they took degrees and 
sat down to tasks that made time begin to move ; 
never again free from its movement, always listen- 
ing and looking for the stillness they had lost. . . 
But why is the world which produces them so fresh 
and real and free, and then seizes and makes them 
dead old leaves whirled along by time, so different 
to people alone in themselves when time is not 
moving ? People in themselves want nothing but 
reality. Why can't reality exist in the world ? 



All the things that happen produce friction because 
they distract people from the reality they are un- 
consciously looking for. That is why there are 
everywhere torrents of speech. If she had not 
read all those old words in the train and had been 
silent. Silence is reality. Life ought to be lived 
on a basis of silence, where truth blossoms. Why 
isn't such an urgent thing known ? Life would 
become like the individual ; alive .... it would 
show, inside and out, and people would leave off 
talking so much. Life does show, seen from far 
off, pouring down into stillness. But the contempla- 
tion of it, not caring for pain or suffering except 
as part of a picture, which no one who is in the 
picture can see, seems mean. Old women sitting 
in corners, suddenly making irrelevant remarks 
and chuckling, see ; they make a stillness of reality, 
a mind picture that does not care, out of the rush 
of life. Perhaps they do not fear death. Perhaps 

people who don't take part don't fear death 

the outsider sees most of the game ; but that 
means a cynical man who does not care for any- 
thing ; body and mind without soul. Lying dead 
at last, with reality left unnoticed on his dressing- 
table, along the window sill, along the edge of 
things outside the window. . . . 

But one day in the future time would move, by 
itself, not through anything one did, and there 
would be no more life. . . . She looked up 
hurriedly towards the changing voice. He was no 
longer reading with a face that showed his thoughts 
wandering far away. 

" The thought of death is, throughout life. 


entirely absent from the mind of the healthy man." 
His brilliant thought filled eyes shone towards her 
at the end of the sentence. 

" There is indeed a vulgarity in perfect health," 
he exclaimed. 

" Yes," she said hurriedly, carrying off the state- 
ment for examination, as peacefully he went on 
reading. What did vulgarity mean, or perfect 
health ? Nobody knew. Dante ennobled the 
vulgar tongue. . . . People went on forever writing 
books using the same words with different meanings. 
Her eyes returned to the relaxed unconscious form. 
He thought too much of books. Yet it did not 
appal him to think of giving up his free intellectual 
life and taking to work. ' I shall still be an in- 
terested amateur.' . . . He would go on reading, 
all his life, sitting as he was sitting now, grave and 
beautiful ; with a mind outspread in a mental 
experience so wide that he was indifferent to the 
usual ideas of freedom and advantage. Yet he did 
not seem to be aware how much the sitting like 
this, linked to the world by its deep echo in the 
book, was a realisation of life as he saw it. It did 
not occur to him that this serenity, in which was 
accumulated all the hours they had passed together, 
was realisation, the life of the world in miniature, 
making a space where everything in human experi- 
ence could emerge like a reflection in deep water, 
with its proportions held true and right by the 
tranquil opposition of their separate minds. She 
summoned onlookers, who instantly recognised 
themselves in this picture of leisure. It was in 
every life that was not astray in ceaseless movement. 


It was the place where everything was atoned. He 
fitted placed thus, happy, without problems or 
envies, in possession of himself and his memories 
in the room where he had voiced them, into the 
centre of English life where all turned to good, 
in the last fastness of the private English mind 
where condemnation could not live. He reinforced 
it with a consciousness that was not in the English, 
making it show as an idea, revealing in plain terms 

their failure to act it out Thus would his 

leisure always be. But it was no part of her life. 
In this tranquillity there was no security .... we 
will always sit like this ; we must, she said within 
herself impatiently towards his unconsciousness. 
Why did he not perceive the life there was, the 
mode of life, in this sitting tranquilly together ? 
Was he thinking of nothing but his reading ? She 
listened for a moment half carried into the quality 
of the text. There was reality there, Spinoza, by 
himself, sounding as if the words were being traced 
out now, for the first time. One day in a moment 
of blankness, she would read it and agree and dis- 
agree and carry away some idea and lose and recover 
it and go on, losing and recovering, agreeing and 
disagreeing. . . . 

When he went away her life would be swept clear 
of intelligently selected books and the sting of con- 
flict with them .... that would not matter ; 
perhaps ; books would come, somehow, in the un- 
expected way they always did. But it was impossible 
to face the ending of these settled tranquil elderly 
evenings of peaceful unity, the quiet dark-bearded 
form, sitting near, happily engrossed 


" Well, what do you think of this ? " 

" I haven't been attending. But I will read it 
.... some time." 

" Ah, it is a pity. But tell me your thoughts at 

" Oh, I was thinking of my sisters." 

" Ah. You must tell me," and again with un- 
relaxed interest he was listening to story after story, 
finding strange significances, matter for envy and 
deep chuckles of appreciative laughter. 


WITH a parting glance at Mr. Shatov's talked- 
out indolent vacuity, she plunged, still 
waiting in the attitude of conversation, into a 
breathless silence. She would make no more talk. 
There should be silence between them. If he broke 
it, well and good ; in future she would take measures 
to curtail the hours of conversation leading, now 
that she was at home in possession of the Russian 
life and point of view, only to one or other of his 
set of quoted opinions, beyond which he refused to 
move. If not, the quahty of their silence would 
reveal to her what lay behind their unrelaxed capa- 
city for association. The silence grew, making more 
and more space about her, and still he did not 
speak. It was dismantling ; unendurable. With every 
moment they both grew smaller and smaller, moving 
quickly towards the quenching of all their inter- 
change. But there was no doubt now. The ques- 
tion was there between them, for equal contempla- 
tion. His easy indolence had fled ; his usual pallor 
heightened, and he sat regarding her with an un- 
hesitating personal gaze. Her determination closed 
about him, blocking his way, filling the room. He 
must emerge, admit. He must at least see, as she 
saw, if it were only the extent of their dependence 
on each other. He knew his need. Perhaps she 
fulfilled it less than she thought ? Perhaps it was 



hers alone His multiplied resources made 

hers humiliatingly greater. The shrine of her cur- 
rent consciousness stood before her ; the roots of 
her only visible future planted for ever within it. 
Losing it, she would be left with her burden of being 
once more scattered and unhoused. 

He rose, bringing her to her feet, and stood before 
her ready to go or stay as she should choose, heaping 
up before her with an air of gently ironic challenge, 
the burden of responsibility ; silently offering her 
one of his borrowed summaries, some irrelevant and 
philosophic worldly wisdom. But it was what he 
felt. There was something he feared. Alone, he 
would not have initiated this scene. She faltered, 
driven back and disarmed by the shock of an over- 
whelming pity unexpected terrible chal- 
lenge from within, known to no one, to be accepted 
or flouted on her sole eternal responsibility. ... In 
a torture of acceptance she pressed through it and 
returned remorseless to her place, flooded as she 
moved by a sudden knowing of wealth within her- 
self now being strangely quarried. 

The long moment was ending ; into its void she 
saw the seemings of her grown life pass and dis- 
appear. His solid motionless form, near and equal 
in the twilight, grew faint, towered above her, 
immense and invisible in a swift gathering swirling 
darkness bringing him nearer than sight or touch. 
The edges of things along the margin of her sight 
stood for an instant sharply clear and disappeared 
leaving her faced only with the swirling darkness 
shot now with darting flame. She ceased to care 
what thoughts might be occupying him, and exulted 


in the marvel. Here already rewarding her insist- 
ence, was payment in royal coin. She was at last, 
in person, on a known highway, as others, knowing 
truth alive. She stared expostulation as she recog- 
nised the celebrated nature of her experience, hear- 
ing her own famiHar voice as on a journey, in amazed 
expostulation at the absence everywhere of simple 

expression of the quality of the state a 

voyage, swift and transforming, a sense of passing 
in the midst of this marvel of flame-ht darkness, out 
of the world in glad sohtary confidence with wildly, 
calmly. beating morning heart. 
' The encircling darkness grew still, spread wide 
about her ; the moving flames drew together to a 
single glowing core. The sense of his presence re- 
turned in might. The rosy-hearted core of flame 
was within him, within the invisible substance of his 
breast. Tenderly transforming his intangible ex- 
pansion to the famiHar image of the man who knew 
her thoughts she moved to find him and marvel with 

His voice budded gently, but with the same 
quahty that had flung her back soHd and alone into 
the cold gloom. 

" We must consider "... what did he think had 
happened ? He had kissed a foreign woman. Who 
did he think was hearing him ?...." what you 
would do under certain circumstances." The last 
words came trembling, and he sat down clearly 
visible in the restored blue twilight ; waiting with 
willing permanence for her words. 

" I should do nothing at all, under any circum- 


" Do not forget that I am Jew." 
Looking at him with the eyes of her friends 
Miriam saw the Russian, standing free, beyond 
Europe, from the stigma of " foreigner." Many 
people would think, as she had in the beginning, 
that he was an intellectual Frenchman, different to 
the usual " Frenchman " ; a big-minded cosmo- 
politan at any rate ; a proud possession. The mys- 
terious fact of Jewishness could remain in the 

background the hidden flaw ... as there 

was always a hidden flaw in all her possessions. To 
her, and to her adventure, its first step now so far 
away, an accepted misery powerless to arrest the 
swift rush of the transforming moments, it need 
make no difl^erence. 

" Perhaps it shall be better I should go away." 
Where ? Into the world of people, who would 
seem to him not different to herself, see his marvel- 
lous surrendered charm, catch him, without knowing 
who or what he was. Who else could know " Mr. 
Shatov " ? 

" Do you want to go away ? " 
" I do not. But it must be with you to decide." 
" I don't see why you should go awayP 
" Then I shall stay. And we shall see." 
The summer lay ahead, unaltered ; the threat of 
change gone from their intercourse. To-morrow 
they would take up life again with a stability ; years 
at their disposal. The need for the moment was to 
have him out of sight, kill the past hour and return 
to the idea of him, already keeping her standing, 
with relaxed power of attention to his little actual 
pitiful obstructive form, in an independent glow, an 


easy wealth of assurance towards life whose throng- 
ing images, mysteries of cities and crowds, single 
fixed groups of known places and inexorable people 
were alight and welcoming with the sense of him. 
She bade him a gentle good-night and reached her 
room, unpursued by thought, getting to bed in a 
trance of suspension, her own life left behind, 
facades of life set all about her, claiming in vain for 
troubled attention, and sank at once into a deep 

Putting on her outdoor things next morning, left 
in the drawing-room while she snatched her break- 
fast, she was immensely embarrassed to find him 
standing silently near. The woman facing her in 
the mirror as she put on her hat was the lonely 
Miriam Henderson, unendurably asked to behave in 
the special way. For he was standing eloquently 
silent and the hands arranging her hat trembled 
reassuringly. But what was she to do ? How turn 
and face him and get back through the room and 
away to examine alone the surprises of being in love ? 
Her image was disconcerting, her clothes and the act 
of rushing off to tiresomely engrossing work in- 
appropriate. It was paralysing to be seen by him 
struggling with a tie. The vivid colour that rushed 
to her cheeks turned her from the betraying mirror 
to the worse betrayal of his gaze. But it was enough 
for the moment, which she faced out, downcast, yet 
joyful in giving what belonged to his grave eyes. 

" We cannot be as boy and girl " he said gently, 
" but we may be very happy." 

Overwhelmed with the sense of inadequate youth 
Miriam stared at his thought. A fragment of con- 


versation flashed into her mind. Jewish girls mar- 
ried at eighteen, or never. At twenty-one they were 

old maids He was waiting for some sign. 

Her limbs were powerless. With an immense effort 
she stretched forth an enormous arm and with a 
hand frightful in its size and clumsiness, tapped him 
on the shoulder. It was as if she had knocked him 
down, the blow she had given resounding through 
the world. He bent to catch at her retreating hand 
with the attitude of carrying it to his lips, but she 
was away down the room, her breath caught by a 
little gurgle of unknown laughter. 

He was at the end of the street in the evening, 
standing bright in the golden light with a rose in 
his hand. For a swift moment, coming down the 
shaded street towards the open light she denied him, 
and the rose. He had bought a rose from some 
flower-woman's basket, an appropriate act suggested 
by his thoughts. But his silent, most surrendered, 
most child-like gesture of offering, his man's eyes 
grave upon the rose for her, beneath uplifted child- 
like plaintive brows, went to her heart, and with the 
passing of the flower into her hand, the gold of the 
sunlight, the magic shifting gleam that had lain 
always day and night, yearlong in tranquil moments 
upon every visible and imagined thing, came at last 
into her very hold. It had been love then, all along. 
Love was the secret of things. 

They wandered silently, apart, along the golden- 
gleaming street. She listened, amidst the far-off 
sounds about them, to the hush of the great space 
in which they walked, where voices, breaking 
silently in from the talk of the world, spoke for her, 


bringing out, to grow and expand in the sunlight, 
the thoughts that lay in her heart. They had 
passed the park, forgetting it, and were enclosed in 
the dust-strewn narrowness of the Euston Road. 
But the dust grains were golden, and her downcast 
eyes saw everywhere, if she should raise them, the 
gleam of roses flowering on the air, and when, their 
way coming too soon towards its familiar end, they 
turned, with slow feet, down a little alley, dark with 
voices, the dingy house-fronts gleamed golden about 
her, the narrow strip of sky opened to an immensity 
of smiling spacious blue, and she still saw, just ahead 
the gleam of flowers and heard on a breath purer 
than the air of the open country, the bright sound 
of distant water. 


FOR many days they spent their leisure 
wandering in the green spaces of London, 
restored to Miriam with the frail dream-like wonder 
they had held in her years of solitude, deepened to 
a perpetual morning brightness. She recalled, in the 
hushed reconciliation of the present, while they saw 
and thought in unison, breaking their long silences 
with anecdotes, re-living together all they could 
remember of childhood, their long exhausting, 
thought-transforming controversies. And as her 
thoughts had been, so now, in these same green 
places were her memories transformed. 

She watched, wondering, while elderly relatives, 
hated and banished, standing, forgotten like past 
nightmares, far away from her independent London 
life, but still powerful in memory to strike horror 
into her world, came forth anew, food as she breath- 
lessly spoke their names and described them, for 
endless speculation. With her efforts to make him 
see and know them, they grew alive in her hands, 
significant and attractive as the present, irrecover- 
able, gone, lonely and pitiful, conquered by her own 
triumphant existence in a different world, free from 
obstructions, accompanied, understood. Between 
the movements of conversation from figure to figure, 
a thread of reflection wove itself in continuous 



repetition. Perhaps to all these people, life had once 
looked free and developing. Perhaps, if she went 
their way, she might yet share their fate. Never. 
She was mistress of her fate ; there was endless time. 
The world was changed. They had never known 
freedom or the endlessness of the passing moment. 
Time for them had been nothing but the con- 
tinuous pressure of fixed circumstances. 

Distant parts of London, whither they wandered 
far through unseen streets, became richly familiar, 
opening, when suddenly they would realise that 
they were lost, on some scene, stamped as unfor- 
-gettably as the magic scenes of holiday excursions. 
They lingered in long contemplation of all kinds 
of shop windows, his patient unmoved good-humour 
while she realised his comparative lack of tastes 
and preferences, and held forth at length on the 
difference between style and quality, and the 
products of the markets, his serene effrontery in 
taking refuge at last behind the quaintest little 
tales, satirical, but dreadfully true and illuminating, 
disarmed her impatience and sent her forward in 
laughter. He seemed to have an endless supply of 
these little tales, and told them well, without 
emphasis, but each one a little drama, perfectly 
shaped and staged. She collected and remembered 
and pondered them, the light they shed on unfamiliar 
aspects of life, playing comfortingly over the future. 
If Judges and Generals and Emperors and all sorts 
of people fixed and labelled in social life were really 
absurd, then social life, with him, might be not 
merely unaffrighting, but also amusing. At the 
same time she was affronted by his inclusion of 


English society in his satirical references. There 
were, she was sure, hidden and active, in all ranks 
in England, a greater proportion of people than in 
any country of his acquaintance, who stood outside 
his criticism. 

She avoided the house, returning only when the 
hour justified a swift retreat from the hall to her 
room ; escape from the dimly-lit privacy of the 
deserted drawing-room. Not again could she 
suffer his nearness, until the foreigner in him, 
dipped every day more deeply into the well of English 
feeling, should be changed. When she was alone, 
she moved, thoughtless, along a pathway that led 
backwards towards a single memory. Far away 
in the distance, coming always nearer, was the 
summer morning of her infancy, a permanent 
standing arrested, level with the brilliance of 
flower-heads motionless in the sunlit air ; no move- 
ment but the hovering of bees. Beyond this 
memory towards which she passed every day more 
surely, a marvellous scene unfolded. And always 
with the unfolding of its wide prospects, there came 
a beautifying breath. The surprise of her growing 
comeliness was tempered by a sudden curious 
indifference. These new looks of hers were not her 
own. They brought a strange publicity. She felt, 
turned upon her, the welcoming, approving eyes 
of women she had contemptuously neglected, and 
upon her own face the dawning reflection of their 
wise, so irritating smile. She recognised them, half 
fearfully, for they alone were the company gathered 
about her as she watched the opening marvel. 
She recognised them for lonely wanderers upon the 


earth. They, these women, then were the only 
people who knezu. Their smile was the smile o£ 
these wide vistas, wrought and shaped, held back 
by the pity they turned towards the blind life of 
men ; but it was alone in its vision of the spaces 
opening beyond the world of daily Hfe. 

The open scene, that seemed at once without 
her and within, beckoned and claimed her, extend- 
ing for ever, without horizons, bringing to her 
contemplating eye a moving expansion of sight 
ahead and ahead, earth and sky left behind, across 
flower-spread plains whose light was purer and 
brighter than the light of day. Here was the path 
of advance. But pursuing it she must be always 
alone ; supported in the turmoil of life that drove 
the haunting scene away, hidden beyond the hard 
visible horizon, by the remembered signs and 
smiles of these far-off lonely women. 

Between them and their second week stood a 
promised visit to the Brooms ; offering itself 
each time she surveyed it, under a different guise. 
But when, for their last evening together, he sur- 
prised her, so little did he ever seem to plan or 
reflect, with stall tickets for the opera she was 
overwhelmed by the swift regardless pressure of 
events. Opera, for ever outside her means and 
forgotten, descending thus suddenly upon her 
v^dthout space for preparation of mind, would seem 
to be wasted. Not in such unseemly haste could 
she approach this crowning ornament of social life. 
She was speechless, too, before the revelation of his 


private ponderings. She knew he was indifferent, 
even to the theatre, and that he could not afford 
this tremendous outlay. His recklessness was 
selfless ; a great planning for her utmost recreation. 
In her satisfaction he was to be content. Touched 
to the heart she tried to express her sense of all 
these things, much hampered by the dismayed 
anticipation of failure, on the great evening, to 
produce any satisfying response. She knew she 
would dislike opera ; fat people, with huge voices, 
screaming against an orchestra, in the pretence of 
expressing emotions they had never felt. But he 
assured her that opera was very beautiful, Faust 
perhaps the most beautiful and charming of all, 
and drew her attention to the massed voices. To 
this idea she clung, in the interval, for enlighten- 

But after spending all her available funds on an 
evening blouse and borrowing a cloak from Jan 
she found herself at the large theatre impressed only 
by the collected mass of the audience. The sense of 
being small and alone, accentuated by the presence 
of little Mr. Shatov, neatly in evening dress at her 
side, persisted, growing, until the curtain rose. 
So long as they had wandered about London and 
sat together in small restaurants, the world had 
seemed grouped about them, the vast ignored 
spectator of a strange romance. But in this huge 
enclosure, their small, unnoticed, unquestioned 
presences seemed challenged to account for them- 
selves. All these unmoved people, making the 
shut-in air cold with their unconcern, even when 
they were hushed with the strange appealing music 


of the overture, were moving with purpose and 
direction because of their immense unconsciousness. 
Where were they going ? What was it all about ? 
What, she asked herself, with a crowning pang of 
desolation, as the curtain went relentlessly up, were 
he and she to be or do in this world ? What would 
they become, committed, identified, two small 
desolate, helpless figures, with the crowding mass 
of unconscious life ? 

" I find something of grandeur in the sober 
dignity of this apartment. It is mediaeval Germany 
at its best." 
, " It is very dark." 

" Wait, wait. You shall see life and sunshine, 
all in the most beautiful music." 

The sombre scene offered the consolation, 
suddenly insufficient, that she had found in the past 
in sliding idly into novels, the restful sense of 
vicarious life. She had heard of a wonderful 
philosophy in Faust, and wondered at Mr. Shatov's 
claim for its charm. But there was, she felt, no 
space, on the stage, for philosophy. The scene would 
change, there was " charm " and sunshine and music 
ahead. This scene itself was changing as she watched. 
The old man talking to himself was less full of 
meaning than the wonderful German interior, the 
pointed stonework and high, stained windows, the 
carved chairs and rich old manuscripts. Even as he 
talked, the light from the night-sky, pouring down 
outside on a beautiful old German town, was 
coming in. And presently there would be daylight 
scenes. The real meaning of it all was scenes, each 
with their separate, rich, silent significance. The 


scenes were the story, the translation of the people 
the actual picture of them as they were by them- 
selves behind all the pother She set herself, 

drifting in solitude away from the complications 
of the present, to watch Germany. The arrival 
of Mephistopheles was an annoying distraction 
suggesting pantomine. His part in the drama was 
obscured by Mr. Shatov's whispered eulogies of 
Chaliapin, " the only true A4ephistopheles in 
Europe." It certainly seemed right that the devil 
should have] " a most profound bass voice." The 
chanting of angels in Paradise, she suggested, could 
only be imagined in high clear soprano, whereat 
he maintained that women's voices unsupported 
by the voices of men were not worth imagining 
at all. 

" Pippa passes. It is a matter of opinion." 

" It is a matter of fact. These voices are 
without depth of foundation. What is this 
Pippa ? " 

" And yet you think that women can rise higher, 
and fall lower, than men." 

She walked home amidst the procession of 
scenes, grouped and blending all about her, free of 
their bondage to any thread of story, bathed in 
music, beginning their life in her as memory, set 
up for ever amongst her store of realities. It had 
been a wonderful evening, opera was wonderful. 
But the whole effect was threatened, as it stood so 
lovely all about her in the night air, by his insistence 
upon a personal interpretation, surprising her in 
the midst of the garden scene and renewed now as 
they walked, by little attempts to accentuate the 


relationship o£ their Hnked arms. Once more she 
held off the threatened obliteration. But the 
scenes had retreated, far away beyond the darkness 
and light of the visible street. With sudden com- 
punction she felt that it was she who had driven 
them away, driven away the wonders that were after 
all his gift. If she had softened towards him, they 
would have gone, just the same. ... It was too 
soon to let them work as an influence. 

Absurd, too, to try to invent life which did not 
come of itself. He had desisted and was away, 
fallen into his thoughtful forgetful singing, brum- 
ming out shreds of melody that brought single 
scenes vividly penetrating the darkness. She called 
him back with a busy repentance, carelessly selecting 
from her thronging impressions a remark that in- 
stantly seemed meaningless. 

" Yes " he said heartily, " there is, absolutely, 
something echt, kern-gesund about these old- 
German things." 

That was it. It had all meant, really, the same 
for him ; and he knew what it was that made the 
charm ; admitting it, in spite of his strange deep 
dislike of the Germans. Kern-Gesundheit was not 
a sufficient explanation. But the certainty of his 
having been within the charm made him real, a 
related part of the pageant of life, his personal 
engaging small attribute her own undivided share. 
On the doorstep, side by side with his renewed 
silent appeal, she turned and met, standing free, 
his gentle tremulous salutation. 

For a moment the dark silent house blazed into 
light before her, She moved forward, as he opened 


the door, as into a brightness of hght where she 
should stand visible to them both, in a simplicity 
of golden womanhood, no longer herself, but his 
Marguerite, yet so differently fated, so differently 
identified with him in his new simplicity, going 
forward together, his thoughts and visions as simple 
as her own in the life now just begun, from which 
their past dropped away grey and cold, the irrelevant 
experience of strangers. 

But the hall was dark and the open dining-room 
door showed blank darkness. She led the way in ; 
she could not yet part from him and lose the strange 
radiance surrounding herself. They ought to go 
forward now, together, from this moment, shedding 
a radiance. To part was to break and mar, forever, 
some essential irrecoverable glory. They sat side 
by side on the sofa by the window. The radiance 
in which she sat crowned, a figure visible to herself, 
recognisable, humble and proud and simple, back 
in its Christian origin, a single weak small figure, 
transfixed with light, dreadfully trusted with the 
searing, brightly gleaming dower of Christian 
womanhood, was surrounded by a darkness unpene- 
trated by the faint radiance the high street lamps 
must be sending through the thick lace curtains. 
This she thought is what people mean by the golden 
dream ; but it is not a dream. No one who has 
been inside it can ever be the same again or quite 
get out. The world it shows is the biggest world 
there is. It is outer space where God is and Christ 
waits. " I am very happy, do you feel happy ? " 
The small far-off man's voice sounded out, lost the 
impenetrable darkness. Yet it was through him, 


through some essential quahty in him that she had 
reached this haven and starting place, he who had 
brought this smiting descent of certainties which 
were to carry her on her voyage into the unknown 
darkness, and since he could not see her smile, she 
must speak. 

" I think so," she said gently. She must, she 
suddenly realised, never tell him more than that. 
His happiness was, she now recognised, hearing his 
voice, different to hers. To admit and acclaim her 
own would be the betrayal of a secret trust. If 
she could dare to lay her hand upon him, he might 
know. But they were too separate. And if he were 
to touch her now, they would again be separated 
for longer than before, for always. '' Good- 
night," she said, brushing his sleeve with the tips 
of her fingers, " dear, funny little man." 

He followed her closely but she was soon away 
up the familiar stairs in the darkness, in her small 
close room, and trying to chide herself for her 
inadequate response, while within the stifling air 
the breath of sunlit open spaces moved about 

But in the morning when the way to King's Cross 
Station was an avenue of sunlight, under a blue 
sky triumphant with the pealing of church bells, his 
sole conversation was an attempt to induce her to 
reproduce the epithet. The small scrap of friendli- 
ness had made him happy ! No one, it seemed, had 
ever so addressed him. His delight was all her own. 
She was overcome by the revelation of her power 
to bless without effort. The afternoon's visit now 
seemed a welcome interval in the too swift succession 


of discoveries. In the cool noisy shelter of the 
station, Sunday holiday-makers were all about them. 
He was still charmingly preening himself, set off 
by the small busy crowd, his eye wandering with 
its familiar look, a childlike contemplation of the 
English spectacle. To Miriam's unwilling glance 
it seemed for observation a fruitless field ; nothing 
exhibited there could challenge speculation. 

On each face, so naively engrossed with immediate 
arranged circumstance, character, opinion, social 
conditions, all that might be expected under the 
small tests of small circumstances, was plainly 
written in monotonous reiteration. Moving and 
going, they could go, with all their busy eagerness, 
no further than themselves. At their destinations 
other similar selves awaited them, to meet and send 
them back, unchanged ; an endless circling. Over 
their unchanging, unquestioned world, no mystery 
brooded with black or golden wings. They would 
circle unsurprised until for each one came the 
surprise of death. It was all they had. They were 
dreadful to contemplate because they suggested 
only death, unpondered death. Her eye rested for 
relief upon a barefooted newspaper boy running 
freely about with his cry, darting head down 
towards a shouted challenge. 

" Before you go " Mr. Shatov was saying. She 
turned towards his suddenly changed voice, saw his 
pale face, grave, and working with the determina- 
tion to difficult speech ; saw him, while she stood 
listening to the few tense phrases in painful admira- 
tion of his courage, horribly transformed, by the 
images he evoked far away, immovable in the sun- 


shine of his earlier days. The very trembling of his 
voice had attested the agonising power of his com- 
munication. Yet behind it all, with what a calm- 
ness of his inner mind, had he told her, now, only 
now, when they were set in the bright amber of so 
many days, that he had been lost to her, forever, 
long ago in his independent past. The train was 
drawing in. She turned away speechless. 

" Miriam, Miriam " he pleaded in hurried shaken 
tones close at her side, " remember, I did not know 
that you would come." 

" Well, I must go," she said briskly, the words 
sounding out to her like ghostly hammer-blows 
upon empty space. Never again should her voice 
sound. The movement of getting into the train 
brought a nerve-crisping relief. She had taken 
the first step into the featureless darkness where, 
alone, she was to wait, in a merciful silence, 

" I shall meet you this evening," said his raised 
voice from the platform. He stood with bowed 
head, his eyes gravely on her unconsidering gaze, 
until the train moved out. She set her teeth 
against the slow movement of the wheels, grinding 
it seemed, smoke-befouled, deliberate, with awful 
circling relentlessness over her prostrate body, 
clenched together for the pang, too numb to feel it 
if only it would come, but left untouched. 

The crushing of full realisation, piling up behind 
her numbness, must pass over her. There was not 
much time. The train was carrying her steadily 
onward, and towards conversation with the un- 
conscious Brooms. She tried to relax to its move- 


ment, to hold back from the entanglements of 
thought and regard the day as an interval outside 
the hurrying procession of her life. A way opened 
narrowly ahead, attainable by one rending effort, 
into a silence, within which the grey light filtering 
through the dingy windows on to the grime-greyed 
floor offered itself with a promise of reassurance. 
It was known to her ; by its unvexed communion 
with her old self. One free breath of escape from 
the visions she was holding clutched for inspection, 
and herself would be given back to her. This awful 
journey would change to an eternity following 
serenely on a forgotten masquerade. She would not 
lose her knowing that all solitary journeys go on 
forever, waiting through intervals, to renew them- 
selves. But the effort, even if she could endure the 
pain of it, would be treachery until she had known 
and seen without reservations the whole meaning of 
the immovable fact. The agony within her must 
mean that somewhere behind the mere statements, 
if she could but get through and discover it, there 
must be a revelation that would set the world going 
again ; bring back the vanquished sunlight. Mean- 
while life must pause, humanity must stay hushed 
and waiting while she thought. A grey-shod foot 
appeared on her small empty patch of floor. With 
the fever of pain that flooded her she realised that 
she could go neither forward nor back. Life pinned 
her motionless, in pain. Her eye ran up and found 
the dreaming face of a girl ; the soft fresh linea- 
ments of childhood, shaped to a partial awareness by 
some fixed daily toil, but still, on all she saw, the 
gleamj^she did not know could disappear, did not 


recognise for what it was, priceless and enough. 
She would never recognise it. She was one of those 
women men wrap in lies, persisting unchanged 
through life, revered and yet odious in the kindly 
stupidity of thoughts fixed immovably on unreality, 
the gleam gone, she knew not why, and yet avenged 
by her awful unconscious production of the kind of 
social life to which men were tied, compelled to 
simulate life in her obstinate, smiling fool's .... 
hell. The rest of the people in the carriage were 
aware, in the thick of conscious deceits ; playing 
parts. The women, strained and defaced, all 
masked watchfulness, cut off from themselves, 
weaving romances in their efforts to get back, the 
men betraying their delight in their hidden oppor- 
tunities of escape by the animation behind the 
voice and manners they assumed for the fixed 
calculable periods of forced association ; ready 
to distract attention from themselves and their 
hidden treasures by public argument, if accident 
should bring it about, over anything and every- 

At least she saw. But what was the use of not 
being deceived ? How in the vast spread of 
humanity expose the sham ? How escape, without 
surrendering life itself, treacherous countenancing of 
the fiendish spectacle ? What good would death do ? 
What did " Eine fur Viele " do ? Brought home 
the truth to one man, who probably after the first 
shock, soon came to the conclusion that she had 
been mad. 

She talked through lunch to the Brooms with 
such an intensity of animation that when at last the 


confrontation was at an end and the afternoon 
begun in the shelter of the dim Httle drawing-room, 
she found Grace and Florrie grouped closely about 
her, wrapped and eager for more. She turned, at 
bay, explaining in shaken unmeditated words that 
the afternoon must be spent by her in thinking out 
a frightful problem, and relapsed, averted swiftly 
from their sensitive faces, suddenly pale about eyes 
that reflected her distress, towards the open door 
of the little greenhouse leading miserably into the 
stricken garden. They remained motionless in the 
chairs they had drawn close to the little settee 
where she sat enthroned, clearly prepared so to sit 
in silent sympathy while she gazed at her problem 
in the garden. She sat tense, but with their eyes 
upon her she could not summon directly the items 
of her theme. They appeared transformed in words, 
a statement of the case that might be made to them, 
' anyone's ' statement of the case, beginning with 
" after all " ; and leaving everything unstated. 
Applied to her own experience they seemed to have 
no meaning at all. Summaries were no good. 
Actual experience must be brought home to make 
anything worth communicating. " When he first 
kissed me " started her mind " those women were 
all about him. They have come between us for- 
ever." She flushed towards the garden. The mere 
presence in her mind of such vileness was an 
outrage on the Broom atmosphere. She could not 
again face the girls. For some time she sat, driving 
from point to point in the garden the inexorable 
fact that she had reached a barrier she could not 
break down. She could, if she were alone, face the 


possibility of dashing her life out against it. If she 
were to turn back from it, she would be rent in 
twain, and how then, base and deformed could she 
find spirit to face anyone at all ? At last, still with 
her eyes on the garden, she told them, she must go 
and think in the open air. They cherished and 
indulged her in their unaltered way and she escaped, 
exempted from coming back to tea. 

Suppose, said the innumerable voices of the road, 
as she wandered down it relieved and eager in the 
first moments of freedom, he had not told you ? 
It was sincere and fine of him to tell. Not at all. 
He wanted to have an easy mind. He has only 
explained what it was that came between us at the 
first, and has been waiting ever since to be there 
again. . . . 

" Remember ; I did not k?iozu you would come." 

Why did men not know ? That was the strange 
thing. Why did they make their first impressions of 
women such as would sully everything that came 
after ? That was the extraordinary thing about the 
average man and many men who were not average 
at all. Why ? 

The answer must be there if she could only get 
through to it. Some immovable answer. The 
wrong one perhaps, but sufficient to frame an 
irreversible judgment. There was an irreversible 
judgment at the heart of it all that would remain, 
even if further fuller truer reasons were reached 
later on. Anything that could take the life out of 
the sunlight was wrong. Every twist and turn of 
the many little side roads along which she made 
her way told her that. It was useless to try 


to run away from it. It remained, the only point 
of return from the wilderness of anger into which 
with every fresh attempt at thought, she was 
immediately flung. The more angry she grew the 
further she seemed to move from the possibility 
of finding and somehow expressing, in words that 
had not sounded in her mind before, the clue to her 

She reached the park at tea-time. Its vistas were 
mercifully empty. She breathed more freely 
within its greenery. Hidden somewhere here, was 
relief for the increasing numbness of her brain and 
the drag of her aching heart. The widening sky 
understood and -v^ould presently, when she had 
reached the statement that lay now, just ahead, 
offer itself in the old way, for companionship. 
Wandering along a little path that wound in and 
out of a thicket of shrubs, she heard a subdued 
rumble of voices and came in a moment upon two 
men, bent-headed in conversation side by side on a 
secluded seat. They looked up at her and upon their 
shiny German faces, and in the cold rheumy blue 
eyes beneath their unconscious intelligent German 
foreheads, was the horrible leer of their talk. 
Looking up from it, scanning her in the spirit of 
the images of life they had evoked in their seques- 
trated confidential interchange, they identified her 
with their vision. She turned back towards the 
wide empty avenues. But there was no refuge in 
them. Their bleak emptiness reflected the thought- 
less lives of English men. Behind her the two 
Germans were immovably there, hemming her in. 
They were the answer. Sitting hidden there, in the 


English park, they were the whole unconscious male 
mind of Europe surprised unmasked. Thought out 
and systematised by them, openly discussed, with- 
out the cloudy reservations of Englishmen, was the 
whole masculine sense of womanhood. One image ; 
perceived only with the body, separated and apart 
from everything else in life. Men were mind and 
body, separated mind and body, looking out at 
v/omen, below their unconscious men's brows, 
variously moulded and sanctified by thought, with 
one unvarying eye. There was no escape from its 
horrible blindness, no other life in the world to 
live . . . , the leer of a prostitute was .... 
reserved .... beautiful, suggesting a daily life 
lived independently amongst the impersonal 
marvels of existence, compared to the headlong 
desirous look of a man. The greed of men was 
something much more awful than the greed of a 
prostitute. She used her last strength to wrench 
herself away from the hopeless spectacle and 
wandered impatient and thoughtless in a feverish 
void. Far away from this barren north London, 
the chosen perfect stage for the last completion of 
a misery as wide at the world, was her own dream 
world at home in her room, her strange unfailing 
self, the lovely world of lovely things seen in silence 
and tranquillity, the coming and going of the light, 
the myriad indescribable things of which day and 
night, in solitude, were full, at every moment ; the 
marvellous forgetfulness of sleep, followed by the 
smiling renewal of inexhaustible sameness .... 
thought flashed in, stabbing her weakness with the 
reminder that solitude had failed and - from its 


failure she had been saved by the companionship of 
a man ; of whom until to-day she had been proud 
in a world lit by the glory and pride of achieved 
companionships. But it was an illusion, fading and 
failing more swiftly than the real things of solitude 

there was no release save in madness ; a 

suddenly descending merciful madness, blotting 
everything out. She imagined herself raging and 
raving through the park, through the world, 
attacking the indifferent sky at last with some final 
outbreaking statement, something, somewhere with- 
in her she must say, or die. She gazed defiance 
upwards at the cloudless blue. The distant trees 
flattened themselves into dark clumps against the 
horizon. Swiftly she brought her eyes back to the 
diminishing earth. Something must be said ; not 
to the sky, but in the world. She grew impatient 
for Mr. Shatov's arrival. If only she could convey 
to him all that was in her mind, going back again 
and again endlessly to some central unanswerable 
assertion, the truth would be out. Stated. At 
least one man brought to book, arrested and 
illuminated. But what was it ? That men are not 
worthy of women. He would agree, and remain 
pleading. That men never have, never can, under- 
stand the least thing about even the worst woman 
in the world ? He would find things to say. She 
plunged back groping for weapons of statement, 
amongst the fixities of the world, there from the 
beginning, and pressing at last with their mocking 
accomplishment, against her small thread of exist- 
ence. Long grappling in darkness against the 
inexorable images, she fell back at last upon word- 


less repudiation, and again the gulf of isolation 
opened before her. The struggle was not to be 
borne. It was monstrous, unforgivable, that it 
should be demanded of her. Yet it could not be 
given up. The smallest glance in the direction of 
even the simulation of acceptance, brought a panic 
sense of treachery that flung her back to cling once 
more to the vanishing securities of her own un- 
touched imagination. 

When at last he appeared, the sight of the 
familiar distinctive little figure plunging ener- 
getically along, beard first, through the north 
London Sunday evening crowd drifting about the 
park gates, their sounds quenched by the blare of 
the Salvation Army's band marching townwards 
along the battered road, for one strange moment 
while a moving light came across the gravel path- 
way at her feet, decking its shabby fringe of grass 
with the dewy freshness of some remembered world 
far away and unknown to this trampling blind 
north London, she asked herself what all the 
trouble was about. What after all had changed ? 
Not herself, that was clear. Walking in fevered 
darkness had not destroyed the light. But he had 
joined her, pulling up before her with white 
ravaged face and hands stretched silently towards 

" For pity's sake don't touch me," she cried 
involuntarily and walked on, accompanied, examin- 
ing her outcry. It was right. It had a secret 
knowledge. They rode in silence on tram and bus. 
Below them on the dimly-lit pavements people 
moved, shadows broken loose and scattered in the 


grey of night. Gaslit, talking faces succeeded each 
other under the street lamps ; not one speaking its 
thoughts ; no feeling expressed that went even as 
deep as the screening chatter of words in the mind. 
But presently all about her, as she sat poised for 
the length of the journey between the dead stillness 
within her and the noise of the silence without, a 
world most wonderful was dawning with strange 
irrelevance, forcing her attention to lift itself from 
the abyss of her fatigue. Look at us, the buildings 
seemed to say, sweeping by massed and various and 
whole, spangled with light. We are here. We, 
are the accomplished marvel. Buildings had always 
seemed marvellous ; and in their moving, changing 
aspects an endless fascination, except in North 
London, where they huddled without distinction, 
defaced in feature and outline by a featureless 
blind occupancy. But to-night, it was North 
London that was revealing the marvel of the mere 
existence of a building. North Londoners were not 
under the spell ; but it was there. Their buildings 
rising out of the earth where once there had been 
nothing, proclaimed it as they swept dreaming by, 
making roadways that were like long thoughts, 
meeting and crossing and going on and on, deep 
alleyways and little courts where always was a pool 
of light or darkness, pouring down from their 
secret communion with the sky a strange single 
reality upon the clothed and trooping multitude 
below. And all the strange unnoticed marvel of 
buildings and clothes, the even more marvellously 
strange unnoticed clothing of speech, all existing 
alone and independent outside the small existence 


of single lives and yet proclaiming them an 

exclamation of wonder rose to her lips, and fell 
back checked, by the remembered occasion, to 
which for an instant she returned as a stranger 
seeing the two figures side by side chained in 
suspended explanations that would not set them 
free, and left her gazing again, surrendered, address- 
ing herself with a deepening ease of heart to the 
endless friendly strength flowing from things 
unconsciously brought about. It brought a balm 
that lulled her almost to sleep, so that when 
at last their journey was at an end she found 
hjerself wordless and adrift in a tiresome pain, that 
must be removed only because it blotted out 

He began at once, standing before her, relating in 
simple unbroken speech the story of his student 
days, without pleading or extenuation ; waiting at 
the end for her judgment. 

" And that first photograph that I liked, was 
before ; and the other, after." 

" That is so." 

" In the first there is someone looking out through 
the eyes ; in the other that someone has moved 

" That is so. I agree." 

" Well, can't you see ? Never to come back. 
Never to come back." 

" Miriam. Remember I am no more than man. 
I was in suffering and in ignorance. It would have 
been better otherwise. I agree with you. But that 
is all past. I am no more that man." 

" Can't you see that there is no past ? " 


" I confess I do not understand this." 
" It is crowding all round you. I felt it. Don't 
you remember ? Before I knew. It comes between 
us all the time. I know now. It's not an idea ; or 
prudishness. It's more solid than the space of air 
between us. I can't get through it." 

" Remember I was suffering and alone.''^ Some- 
where within the vibrating tones was the careless 
shouting of his boyhood ; that past was there too ; 
and the eager lifting voice of his earlier student 
days, still sometimes alive in the reverie of his lifted 
singing brows. The voice had been quelled. In his 
memory as he stood there before her was pain, 
young lonely pain. Within the life thrown open 
without reservation to her gaze, she saw, con- 
fronting her determination to make him suffer, the 
image of unhealed suffering, still there, half 
stifled by his blind obedience to worldly ignorant 
advice, but waiting for the moment to step forward 
and lay its burden upon her own unwilling heart, 
leaving him healed and free. Tears sprang to her 
eyes, blotting him out, and with them she sprang 
forth into a pathless darkness, conscious far away 
behind her, soon to be obliterated on the unknown 
shores opening ahead, but there gladly in hand, of a 
debt, signed and to be honoured even against her 
will, by life, surprised once more at this darkest 
moment, smiling at her secretly, behind all she 
could gather of opposing reason and clamourous 
protests of unworthiness. " Poor boy " she gasped, 
gathering him as he sank to his knees, with swift 
enveloping hands against her breast. The unknown 
woman sat alone, with eyes wide open towards the 


empty air above his hidden face. This was man ; 
leaning upon her with his burden of loneliness, at 
home and comforted. This was the truth behind 
the image of woman supported by man. The 
strong companion was a child seeking shelter ; the 
woman's share an awful loneliness. It was not 

She moved to raise and restore him, at least to 
the semblance of a supporting presence. But with 
a sudden movement he bent and caught a fold of 
her dress to his lips. She rose with a cry of protest, 
urging him to his feet. 

" I know now," he said simply, " why men kneel 
to women." While in her heart she thanked 
heaven for preserving her to that hour, the dreadful 
words, invested her in yet another loneliness. She 
seemed to stand tall and alone, isolated for a moment 
from her solid surroundings, within a spiral of 
unconsuming radiance. 

" No one ought to kneel to anyone," she lied in 
pity, and moved out restlessly into the room. We 
are real. As others have been real. There is a 
sacred bond between us now, ratified by all human 
experience. But oh the cost and the demand. It 
was as if she were carrying in her hands something 
that could be kept safe only by a life-long silence. 
Everything she did and said in future must hide the 
sacred trust. It gave a freedom ; but not of speech 
or thought. It left the careless dreaming self 
behind. Only in ceaseless occupation could it 
hold its way. Its only confidant would be God. 
Holding to it, everything in life, even difficulties, 
would be transparent. But seen from the outside. 


by the world, an awful mysteriously persistent 
commonplace. It was not fair that men did not 
know the whole of this secret place and its compact. 
Why was God in league only with women ? 


IT'S not altogether personal Until it is 
understood and admitted, there is a darkness 
everywhere. The life of every man in existence, who 
does not understand and admit it, is perfectly sense- 
less. Until they know they are all living in vain. 
- " What on earth did you mean ? " she said as soon 
as the omnibus had started. 

He turned a startled musing face. He had for- 

" What have I said ? " 

" Kindly think." 

" Really I am at a loss." 

" When that woman collided with me, crossing 
the road." 

" Ah, ah, I remember. Well ? " 

" You pronounced an opinion." 

" It is not my opinion. It is a matter of ascer- 
tained fact." 

" Facts are invented by people who start with 
their conclusions arranged beforehand." 

" Perhaps so." 

" Ah well ; that is an admission." 

" The conclusion is amply verified." 

" Where ? " 

" I speak only of women in the mass. There are 
of course exceptions." 



" Go on, go on." 

" I see you are annoyed. Let us leave this 

" Kindly go on." 

" There is nothing more to say." He laughed. 
He was not even being aware that it was a matter 
of life and death. He could go on serenely living in 
an idea, that turned life into a nightmare. 

" Oh if it amuses you." He was silent. The 
moments went beating on. She turned from him 
and sat averted. She would go now onward and on- 
ward till she could get away over the edge of the 
world. There was nothing else to do. There were 
no thoughts or words in which her conviction could 
take shape. Even looking for them was a degrada- 
tion. Besides, argument, if she could steady herself 
to face the pain of it, would not, whatever he might 
say, even dislodge his satisfied unconcern. He was 
uneasy ; but only about herself, and would accept 
reassurance from her, without a single backward 
glance. But what did their personal fate matter be- 
side a question so all-embracing ? What future 
could they have in unacknowledged disagreement 
over central truth ? And if it were acknowledged, 
what peace ? 

The long corridor of London imprisoned her. 
Far away beneath her tumult it was making its 
appeal, renewing the immortal compact. The 
irregular facades, dull greys absorbing the light, 
bright buffs throwing it brilliantly out, dadoed 
below with a patchwork of shops, and overhead the 
criss-cross of telephone wires, shut her away from 
the low-hung soft grey sky. But far away, unfailing, 


retreating as the long corridor telescoped towards 
them, an obliterating saffron haze filled the vista, 
holding her in her place. 

The end of the journey brought them to grey- 
streets and winding alleys where the masts and rig- 
ging that had loomed suddenly in the distance, 
robbing the expedition of its promise of ending in 
some strange remoteness with their suggestion of 
blind busy worlds beyond London, were lost to 

" This must be the docks," she said politely. 

With the curt permission of a sentinel policeman 
tliey went through a gateway appearing suddenly 
before them in a high grey wall. Miriam hurried 
forward to meet the open scene for one moment 
alone and found herself on a little quay surrounding 
a square basin of motionless grey water shut in by 
wooden galleries, stacked with mouldering casks. 
But the air was the air that moves softly on still days 
over wide waters and in the shadowed light of the 
enclosure, the fringe of green where the water 
touched the grey stone of the quay gleamed bril- 
liantly in the stillness. She breathed in, in spite of 
herself, the charm of the scene ; an ordered com- 
pleteness, left to itself in beauty ; its lonely beauty 
to be gathered only by the chance passer-by. 

" This is a strange romantic place," said Mr. 
Shatov conversationally by her side. 

" There is nothing," said Miriam unwillingly, 
feeling her theme weaken as she looked away from 
it to voice well-known words, " Nothing that reveals 
more completely the spiritual," her voice gave over 
the word which broke into meaninglessness upon 


the air, " the status of a man as his estimate of 

" I entirely agree. I was a feminist in my college 
days. I am still a feminist." 

Miriam pondered. The word was new to her. 
But how could anyone be a feminist and still think 
women most certainly inferior beings ? 

" Ah," she cried " you are one of the Huxleys." 

" I don't follow you." 

" Oh well. He, impertinent schoolboy, graciously 
suggested that women should be given every possible 
kind of advantage, educational and otherwise ; say- 
ing almost in the same breath that they could never 
reach the highest places in civilisation ; that Nature's 
Salic Law would never be repealed." 

" Well, how is it to be repealed ? " 

" I don't know I'm sure. I'm not wise enough to 
give instruction in repealing a law that has never 
existed. But who is Huxley, that he should take 
upon himself to say what are the highest places in 
civilisation ? " 

" Miriam " he said, coming round to stand before 
her. " We are not going to quarrel over this 
matter." She refused to meet his eyes. 

" It is not a question of quarrelling, or even dis- 
cussion. You have told me all I want to know. I 
see exactly where you stand ; and for my part it 
decides, many things. I don't say this to amuse my- 
self or because I want to, but because it is the only 
thing I can possibly do." 

" Miriam. In this spirit nothing can be said at 
all. Let us rather go and have tea." 

Poor little man, perhaps he was weary ; troubled 


in this strange grey corner of a country not his own, 
isolated with an unexpected anger. They had tea 
in a small dark room behind a little shop. It was 
close packed with an odorous dampness. Miriam sat 
frozen, appalled by the presence of a negro. He sat 
near by, huge, bent snorting and devouring, with a 
huge black bottle at his side. Mr. Shatov's presence 
was shorn of its alien quality. He was an English- 
man in the fact that he and she could not sit eating 
in the neighbourhood of this marshy jungle. But 
they were, they had. They would have. Once away 
from this awful place she would never think of it 
again. Yet the man had hands and needs and feel- 
ings. Perhaps he could sing. He was at a disadvan- 
tage, an outcast. There was something that ought 
to be said to him. She could not think what it was. 
In his oppressive presence it was impossible to think 
at all. Every time she sipped her bitter tea it 
seemed that before she should have replaced her cup, 
vengeance would have sprung from the dark corner. 
Everything hurried so. There was no time to shake 
off the sense of contamination. It was contamina- 
tion. The man's presence was an outrage on some- 
thing of which he was not aware. It would be 
possible to make him aware. When his fearful face, 
which she sadly knew she could not bring herself to 
regard a second time, was out of sight, the outline 
of his head was desolate, like the contemplated head 
of any man alive. Men ought not to have faces. 
Their real selves abode in the expressions of their 
heads and brows. Below, their faces were moulded 

by deceit 

While she had pursued her thoughts, advantage 


had fallen to the black form in the corner. It was 
as if the black face grinned, crushing her thread of 

" You see, Miriam, if instead of beating me, you 
will tell me your thoughts, it is quite possible that 
mine may be modified. There is at least nothing of 
the bigot in me." 

" It is not what people may be made to see for a 
few minutes in conversations that counts. It is the 
conclusions they come to, instinctively, by them- 
selves." He wanted to try and think as she did 

" chose attendrissante ; il me ressem- 

blaient " life . . was different, to everybody, 

even to intellectual male vain-boasters, from every- 
body's descriptions ; there was nothing to point to 
anywhere that exactly corresponded to spoken 
opinions. But the relieving truth of this was only 
realised privately. The things went on being said. 
Men did not admit their private discoveries in 
public. It was not enough to see and force the 
admittance of the holes in a theory privately, and 
leave the form of words going on and on in the 
world perpetually parroted, infecting the sky. 
" Wise women know better and go their way with- 
out listening," is not enough. It is not only the 
insult to women ; a contempt for men is a bulwark 
against that, but introduces sourness into one's own 

life It is the impossibility of witnessing 

the pouring on of a vast, repeating public life that 
is missing the significance of everything. 

Yet what a support, she thought with a sideways 
glance, was his own gentleness . . . gentilesse . . . 
and humanity, to his own theory. He was serene 


and open in the presence o£ this central bitterness. 
If she could summon, in words, convincing evidence 
of the inferiority of man, he would cheerfully accept 
it and go on unmaimed. But a private reconstruc- 
tion of standards in agreement with one person 
would not bring healing. It was history, literature, 
the way of stating records, reports, stories, the whole 
method of statement of things from the beginning 
that was on a false foundation. 

If only one could speak as quickly as one's thoughts 
flashed, and several thoughts together, all with a 
separate life of their own and yet belonging, every- 
body would be understood. As it was, even in the 
most favourable circumstances, people could hardly 
communicate with each other at all. 

" I have nothing to say. It is not a thing that 
can be argued out. Those women's rights people are 
the worst of all. Because they think women have 
been " subject " in the past. Women never have 
been subject. Never can be. The proof of this is 
the way men have always been puzzled and ever- 
lastingly trying fresh theories ; founded on the very 
small experience of women any man is capable of 
having. Disabilities, imposed by law, are a stupid 
insult to women, but have never touched them as 
individuals. In the long run they injure only men. 
For they keep back the civilisation of the outside 
world, which is the only thing men can make. It 
is not everything. It is a sort of result, poor and 
shaky because the real inside civilisation of women, 
the one thing that has been in them from the first 
and is not in the natural man, not made by " things," 
is kept out of it. Women do not need civilisation. 



It is apt to bore them. But it can never rise above 
their level. They keep it back. That does not 
matter, to themselves. But it matters to men. And 
if they want their old civilisation to be anything but 
a dreary-weary puzzle, they must leave off imagining 
themselves a race of gods fighting against chaos, and 
thinking of women as part of the chaos they have to 
civilise. There isn't any " chaos." Never has been. 
It's the principal masculine illusion. It is not a truth 
to say that women must be civilised. Feminists are 
not only an insult to womanhood. They are a libel 
on the universe." In the awful presence she had 
spoken herself out, found and recited her best most 
liberating words. The little unseen room shone, its 
shining speaking up to her from small things imme- 
diately under her eyes. Light, pouring from her 
speech, sent a radiance about the thick black head 
and its monstrous bronze face. He might have his 
thoughts, might even look them, from the utmost 
abyss of crude male life, but he had helped her, and 
his blind unconscious outlines shared the unknown 
glory. But she doubted if she would remember that 
thoughts flowed more easily, with surprising ease, as 
if given, waiting, ready to be scanned and stated, 
when one's eyes ceased to look outwards. If she 
could remember it, it might prove to be the solu- 
tion of social life. 

" These things are all matters of opinion. Where- 
as it is a matter of indisputable fact that in the past 
women have been subject." 

" If you believe that it is impossible for us to 
associate. Because we are living in two utterly 
different worlds." 


" On the contrary. This difference is a most ex- 
cellent basis for association." 

" You think I can cheerfully regard myself as an 
emancipated slave, with traditions of slavery for 
memory and the form of a slave as an everlasting 
heritage ? " 

" Remember that heredity is cross-wise. You are 
probably more the daughter of your father . . ." 

" That won't help you, thank you. If anything 
I am my mother's son." 

" Ah — ah, what is this, you are a son. Do you 

" That's a piece of English feudalism." 

" The demands of feudalism do not explain a 
woman's desire for sons." 

" That is another question. She hopes they will 
give her the understanding she never had from their 
father. In that I am my mother's son for ever. If 
there's a future life, all I care for is to meet her. If 
I could have her back for ten minutes I would gladly 

give up the rest of my life Is heredity really 

criss-cross ? Is it proved ? " 

" Substantially." 

" Oh yes. Of course. I know. To prevent civili- 
sation going ahead too fast ! I've seen that some- 
where. Very flattering to men. But it proves 
there's no separate race of men and women." 

" Exactly." 

" Then how have men the face to go on with their 
generalisations about women ? " 

" You yourself have a generalisation about 
That's different. It's not about brains and 


attainments. I can't make you see. I suppose it's 

" What is Christianity ? You think Christianity 
is favourable to women ? On the contrary. It is 
the Christian countries that have produced the pros- 
titute and the most vile estimations of women in 
the world. It is only in Christian countries that I 
find the detestable spectacle of men who will go 
straight from association with loose women into the 
society of innocent girls. That I find unthinkable. 

With Jews womanhood has always been 

sacred. And there can be no doubt that we owe 
our persistence as a race largely to our laws of pro- 
tection for women ; all women. Moreover in the 
older Hebrew civilisation women stood very high. 
You may read this. To-day there is a very signifi- 
cant Jewish wit which says that women make the 
best wives and mothers in the world." 

" There you are. No Englishman would make a 
joke like that." 

" Because he is a hypocrite." 

" No. He may, as you say, think one thing and 
say another ; but long long ago he had a jog. It 
was Christianity. Something happened. Christ was 
the first man to see women as individuals." 

" You speak easily of Christianity. There is no 
Christianity in the world. It has never been ima- 
gined, save in the brain of a Tolstoy. And he has 
shown that if the principles of Christianity were 
applied, civilisation as we know it would at once 
come to an end." 

" There may not be much Christianity. But 
Christianity has made a difference. It has not given 


things to women that were not there before. 
Nothing can do that. But it has shed a Hght on 
them which the best women run away from. Never 
imagine I am speaking of myself. I'm as much a 
man as a woman. That's why I can't help seeing 
things. But I'm not really interested. Not inside 
myself. Now look here. You prefer English- 
women to Jewesses. I can't bear Jewesses, not 
because they are not really like other women, but 
because they reflect the limitations of the Jewish 
male. They talk and think the Jewish man's idea of 
them. It has nothing to do with them as individuals. 
But they are waiting for the light to go up." 

" I speak always of these assimilated and half- 
assimilated English Jewesses. Certainly to me they 
are most inimical." 

" More so than the Germans ? " 

" In a different way. They have here less social 
disabilities. But they are most absolutely terre-a- 

" Why are Russian Jewesses different ? " 

" Many of them are idealist. Many live alto- 
gether by one or two ideas of Tolstoy." 

" Why do you smile condescendingly ? " 

" These ideas can lead only to revolution. I am 
not a revolutionary. While I admire everywhere 
those who suffer for their ideals." 

" You admit that Tolstoy has influenced Russian 
Jewesses. He got his ideas from Christ. So you 
say. I did not know he was religious." 

" It is a later development. But you remember 
Levin. But tell me, do you not consider that wife 
and mother is the highest position of woman ? " 


" It is neither high nor low. It may be anything. 
If you define hfe for women, as husbands and chil- 
dren, it means that you have no consciousness at all 
where women are concerned." 

" There is the evidence of women themselves. 
The majority find their whole life in these things." 

" That is a description, from outside, by men. 
When women use it they do not know what they 


IT was strange that it should be the house that 
had always caught her eye, as she crossed the 
square ; one of the spots that always made the years 
of her London life show as a continuous com- 
munion with the rich brightness of the west-end. 
The houses round about it were part of the darker 
colour of London, creating even in sunlight the be- 
loved familiar London atmosphere of dun-coloured 
mist and grime. But this house was a brilliant white, 
its windows fringed, during the season, with the 
gentle deep velvet pink of ivy-leaf geraniums and 
having, across the lower half of its fagade a fine close 
trellis of green painted wood, up which a green 
creeper clambered, neat and sturdy, with small 
bright polished leaves making a woodland blur across 
the diamond patterned mesh of white and green. 
There were other creepers in the square, but they 
hung in festoons, easily shabby, spoiled at their 
brightest by the thought of their stringy bare ten- 
drils hung with shrivelled leaves. These small green 
leaves faded and dried and fell crisply, leaving a net- 
work of clean twigs to gleam in the rain, and the 
treUis bright green against the white house-front, 
suggesting summer all the year around. 

She went eagerly towards this permanent summer 
created by wealth, warmed by the imagined voice 
u 299 


of a power that could transform all dijfficulties, set- 
ting them in a beauty that lived by itself. 

The little leaves, seen from the doorstep, shone 
like bright enamel in the misty twilight ; but their 
beautiful wild clean-cut shapes, so near, suddenly 
seemed helpless, unable to escape, forced to drape 
the walls, life-fevered within, to which their stems 

were pinned But there was a coming in and 

out All people in houses had a coming 

in and out, those moments of coming, anew out 
into endless space. And everywhere at moments, in 
houses, was the sense of the life of the whole world 
flowing in. Even Jewish houses were porous to the 
life of the world, and to have a house, however 
strangely shaped one's life, would be to have a van- 
tage point for breathing in the life of the world. 

She stood in a lull, reprieved, her endlessly 

revolving problem left behind, the future in abey- 
ance, perhaps to be shown her by the woman waiting 
within, set in surroundings that now called to her 
jubilantly, proclaiming themselves to be the only 
object of her visit. For a moment she found herself 
back in her old sense of the marvel of existence, 
gazing at the miraculous spectacle of people and 
things, existing ; herself, however, perplexed and re- 
sourceless, within it, everything sinking into insig- 
nificance beside the fact of being alive, having lived 
on to another moment of unexplainable glorious 
happiness. Light-heartedly she rang the bell. The 
small movement of her lifted hand was supported, 
a permitted part of the whole tremendous pano- 
rama ; and in that whole she was England, a link 
in the world-wide being of England and English life. 


The bell, grinding out its summons within the house, 
brought her back within the limits of the occasion, 
but she could not drive away the desire to go for- 
ward without return, claiming welcome and accept- 
ance, in a life permanently set in beauty. 

The door flew open revealing a tall resentfully 
handsome butler past whom she went confidently 
announcing her appointment, into an immense 
hail, its distances leading in every direction to 
doors, suggesting a variety of interiors beyond her 
experience. She was left standing. Somieone who 
had come up the steps as the door opened, was 
'being swiftly conveyed, a short squat polished 
wealthy old English Jew with curly grey hair and 
an eager busy plunging gait, across the hall to the 
centremost door. It opened on a murmur of voices 
and the light from within fell upon a table just 
outside, its surface crowded with gleaming top-hats. 
Some kind of men's meeting was in progress. The 

woman was not in it Had she anticipated, 

before she married, what it would be, however she 
might fortify herself with scorn, to breathe always 
the atmosphere of the Jewish religious and social 
oblivion of women ? Had she had any experience 
of Jewesses, their sultry conscious femineity, their 
dreadful acceptance of being admitted to synagogue 
on sufferance, crowded away upstairs in a stuffy 
gallery, while the men downstairs, bathed in light, 
draped in the symbolic shawl, thanked God aloud 
for making them men and not women ? Had she 
thought what it must be to have always at her 
side a Jewish consciousness, unconscious of her 
actuality, believing in its own positive existence, 


seeing her as human only in her consecration to 
relationships ? 

The returning butler ushered her unannounced 
through a doorway near at hand into a room that 
spread dimly about her in a twilight deepened by 
a single core of rosy light at the centre of the 
expanse. Through a high curtain-draped archway 
she caught a glimpse, as she came forward, of a 
further vastness, shadowy in undisturbed twilight. 

Mrs. Bergstein had risen to meet her, her head 
obscured in the gloom above the lamplight, so that 
only her gown met Miriam's first sally of investiga- 
tion ; a refined middle-class gown of thin dull 
black whose elbow sleeves and little vee neck were 
softened at the edge with a ruche of tulle ; the 
party dress of a middle-aged spinster schoolmistress. 
Miriam braced herself in vain against its seduc- 
tions ; it called her so powerfully to come forth and 
rejoice. She revelled off, licensed and permitted, 
the free deputy of this chained presence, amongst 
the enchantments of the great house ; the joy of 
her escapade leaping bright against the dark cer- 
tainty that there was no help awaiting her. It was 
no longer to be feared that an unscrupulous, suc- 
cessful, brightly cajoling woman would persuade 
her that her problem did not exist ; but neither 
from this woman to whom the fact of life as a 
thing in itself never had time to appear, could she 
hope for support in her own belief in the un- 
soundness of compromise. 

Mrs. Bergstein bowed, murmured a greeting and 
indicated a little settee near the low chair into 
which she immediately subsided, her face still in 


shadow, the shape of her coiffure so much in keeping 
with the dress that Miriam could hardly refrain 
from departing then and there. She sat down, a 
schoolgirl waiting for judgment against which she 
was armed in advance, and yet helpless through 
her unenvious, scornful admiration. 

" I was much interested by your letter " said Mrs. 

The interview was at an end. There was no 
opening in the smooth close surface represented by 
the voice, through which questions could be driven 
home. She was smitten into silence where the 
sound of the voice echoed and re-echoed, whilst she 
fumbled for a suitable phrase, clinging to the memory 
of the statement, still somewhere, which she had 
come, so desperately, to hear and carry away and 
set down, a ray of light in the darkness of her 
revolving thoughts. A numb forgetfulness assailed 
her, threatening the disaster of irrelevance of speech 
or behaviour coming from the tides of expression 
she felt beating below it. She forced a murmured 
response from her lips, and the tumult was stilled 
to an echo that flung itself to and fro within, 
answering the echo of the woman's voice on the 
air. She had caught hold and contributed. It 
was now the turn of the other to go on and confirm 
what she had revealed 

" Music is so beautiful — so elevating." " That 
depends upon the music." Never said. Kept 
treacherously back for the sake of things that might 
be lost in a clashing of opinions . . . the things 
they never thought of in exercising their benevolence, 
and demanding in return acceptance of their views 


. . . the light of a whole world condensed in the 
bright old town, the sweet chiming sound of it, 
coming in at the windows, restoring childhood, the 
expanses of leisure made by their small hard circle, 
a world of thoughtless ideas, turning a short week- 
end into a life, lived before, familiar, building out 
in the nerves a glorious vitality 

It was the same voice, the English lady's voice, 
bringing all Christendom about her, all the traditions 
within which, so lately, she had felt herself com- 
mitted steadfastly to tread. But there was some- 
thing left out of it, a warmth was missing, it had 
not in it the glow that was in those other women's 
voices, of kindliness towards the generous things 
they had secretly, willingly renounced. It had, 
instead something that was like a cold clean blade 
thrusting into an intelligible future, something 
inexorable, founded not upon fixed ideas, but upon 
ideas, single and cold. This woman would not 
make concessions ; she would always stand, un- 
compromisingly, in face of everyone, men and 
women, for the same things, clear cut, delicate and 
narrowly determining as her voice. 

" You are considering the possibility of embracing 
the Jewish faith ? " 

" Well, «o," said Miriam startled into briskness 
by the too quickly developing accumulation of 
speech. " I heard that you had done so ; and 
wondered, how it was possible, for an English- 

" You are a Christian ? " 

" I don't know. I was brought up in the Anglican 


" Much depends upon the standpoint from which 
one approaches the ver^ definite and simple creed 
of Judaism. I myself was a Unitarian, and there- 
fore able to take the step without making a break 
with my earlier convictions." 

" I see," said Miriam coldly. Fate had deceived 
her, holding in reserve the trick of this simple 
explanation. She gazed at the seated figure. The 
glow of her surroundings was quenched by the 
chill of a perpetually active reason. . . . Science, 
ethics, withering commonsense playing over every- 
thing in life, making a harsh bareness everywhere, 
■seeing nothing alive but the cold processes of the 
human mind ; having Tennyson read at services 
because poetry was one of the superior things 

produced by humanity She wondered 

whether this woman, so exactly prepared to meet 
a Jewish reform movement, had been helplessly 
born into Unitarianism, or had taken it up as she 
herself had nearly done. 

" Much of course depends upon the synagogue 
through which one is admitted." Ah ; she had felt 
the impossibilities. She had compromised and was 
excusing her compromise. 

" Of course I have heard of the reform move- 
ment." . . The silence quivered with the assertion 
that the reformers were as much cut off from 
Judaism as Unitarianism from Anglican Christianity. 
To enter a synagogue that made special arrange- 
ments for the recognition of women was to admit 
that women were dependent on recognition. The 
silence admitted the dilemma. Mrs. Bergstein had 
passed through these thoughts, suffering ? Though 


she had found a way through, following her cold 
clear reason, she still suffered ? 

" I think I should find it impossible to associate 
with Jewish women.'''' 

" That is a point you must consider very care- 
fully indeed." The room leapt into glowing 
reality. They were at one ; Englishwomen with 

a common incommunicable sense. Outcasts 

Far away, within the warm magic circle of English 
life, sounded the careless easy slipshod voices of 
Englishmen, she saw their averted talking forms, 
aware in every line, and protective, of something 
that Englishwomen held in their hands. 

" Don't you find " she began breathlessly, but 
calm even tones drove across her eagerness : 
" What is your fiance's attitude towards religion ? " 

" He is not exactly religious and not fully in 
sympathy with the reform movement because he is 
a Zionist and thinks that the old ritual is the 
only link between the persecuted Jews and those 
who are better placed ; that it would be treachery 
to break with it as long as any are persecuted. 

Nevertheless, he is willing to renounce 

his Judaism." 

The Queen, who is religious, puts love before 
religion, for woman. Her Protestantism. He for 
God only, she for God in him and able to change 
her creed when she marries. A Catholic couldnH. 
And she would call Catholics idolators. ^he is an 
idolater ; of men. 

Mrs. Bergstein was amazed at his willingness. 

Envious / am a Jew, a '' he ad^ man 

incapable of ' love ' It is your eyes. I 


must see them always / know now what is 

meant by love / am even willing to renounce 

my Judaism Michael to think and say 

that. I am crowned, for Hfe ; by a sacrifice I 

cannot accept. He must keep his Judaism 

You must marry me The discovery, flow- 
ing through the grey noisy street, of the secret of 
the * mastery ' idea ; that women can only be sure 
that a man is sure when 

" There is then no common rehgious feeHng 
between you ? " 

She had moved. The Hght fell upon her. She 
was about /or^y. She had come forth, so late, from 
the secret numbness of her successful independent 
life, and had not found what she came to seek. She 
was still alone in her circling day. At the period of 
evening dress she put on a heavy gold bracelet, 
ugly, a heavy ugly shape. Her face was pinched 
and drawn ; before her lay the ordeal of belated 
motherhood. Vulgarly violating her refined en- 
durance had come this incident. Dignified con- 
demnation spoke from her averted eyes. She had 
said her say and was desiring that there should be 
no further waste of time. 

Miriam made no sound. In the stillness that 
followed the blow she faced the horrible summary, 
stricken to her feet, her strength ebbing with her 
thoughts into the gathering swirling darkness. She 
waited for a moment. But Mrs. Bergstein made 
no sign. Imponderable, conscious only of the 
weight of her body about her holding her to the 
ground beneath her feet, she went away from the 
room and the house. In the lamplit darkness her 


feet carried her joyously forward into the freshness 
of the tree-filled air. The large square lying 
between her and the street where he was waiting 
seemed an immensity. She recovered within it the 
strange unfailing freedom of solitude in the sounding 
spaces of London and hurried on to be by his side 
generally expressive of her rejoicing. The world's 
condemnation was out of sight behind her. But 
he would ask, and whatever she said, the whole 
problem would be there afresh, insoluble. He 
would never see that it had been confirmed, never 
admit anything contemptible in their association. 

It was because there was no contempt in 

him that she was hurrying. But alone again with 
him, the troubled darkness behind her would return 
with its maddening influence. She was fleeing 
from it only towards its darkest centre. 

The Mayflower Press, Pfytttouth, England. William Brendon & Son, Ltd. ''"h 




Author of 
"The Book of Martha," "Susie," etc. 

The " three loving- ladies " are Susie and 
her two grown-up daughters, and the 
novel, written in Mrs. Dowdall's own 
vein of happy gossip, tells of their 
life in the various social sets of a pro- 
vincial city. It is amusing-, but there is 
always clever insight behind its smiles. 

CroWn 8Vo, 9s. net. 




Author of 
" The Growth of the Soil," " Pan," etc. 

In 1920, Knut Hamsun won the Nobel 
Prize for literature. "Hunger" is un- 
questionably among his greatest novels : 
a remarkably vivid portrayal of the effect 
of v^^ant of food on a man's character, 
his morals, his whole attitude to life. 

CroWn SVo. Ss. 6d, net. 






This novel tells the story of a young- 
man from Croatia, who leaves Austria 
in 191 2 to support his own race 
among the Serbs. It is not an army 
book : it is a picture of men and 
women working and loving, out of the 
range of guns, but under the tensity of 
feeling that holds a war-swept country. 

CroWn SVo, 9s. net. 






Author of 
"The Passionate Spectator," etc. 

The story of a bright girl who gives up 
personal ambition in the *' Bohemia" of 
New York in order to make a nerve- 
racked poet take a more human view of 
life. A vigorous and attractive novel. 

CroWn SVo. 9s. net. 






Author of 
"Three Weeks," etc. 

This, the latest novel by the famous 
novelist, Elinor Glyn, is now issued at 

2s. net. 



This book is DUE on the last date stamped helow 

AUG l2 19SS\ 

JAN »8v 

Form L-0 


AA 000 378 921 i